In Lancashire, antique desks often end up being used to play PC games, which today even include Monopoly. However, a buyer at Sotheby’s New York preferred the classic format – and was prepared to pay $120,000 (equivalent to £74,300, plus premium) to acquire a rare 1930s original. The estimate was $60,000-80,000.
The set was the most expensive item in a sale of effects from the estate of US publisher and toy collector Malcolm Forbes. Sotheby’s is perhaps better known to buyers in Cumbria for Victorian dining tables and fine art than train sets and board games. However, NY Sotheby’s don’t just deal in fine art and antiques. They have sales of everything from Marvel comics to Hollywood memorabilia, which to some buyers is worth more than a Chippendale antique desk.
Preston readers may wonder why a board game mortgaging Fleet Street for £110 would be of interest to American buyers. However, regional versions of Monopoly exist across the world, with the American version being the first – invented by unemployed Philadelphia heating engineer Charles Darrow. The London place names were devised by an American – hence the Angel Islington becoming a street rather than a building!
The version sold at Sotheby’s was a rarity – a Darrow original and the only one to feature a unique circular board. Thought to be the oldest surviving set in the world, the street names match those of 1930s Atlantic City – the setting of Sky TV’s top-rated series Boardwalk Empire.
If you want to experience the thrill of buying Trafalgar Square for a knock-down £220, antique dealers in Lancashire have Victorian dining tables perfect for playing board games on.
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