Rochester Museum Buys Oldest Monopoly Set

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By Steve Delahoyde Comment

As is to be expected this time of year, the news is slowing down a bit, so we thought we’d share something a bit more fun, yet still both design-y and museum-y all the same. The Strong Museum of Play, the Rochester, New York-based museum dedicated to all things fun and games and is “the home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of play-related objects including games, toys, dolls, and electronic games” has announced that it has acquired the earliest-known produced copy of Monopoly. Created sometime in 1933 and based on the popular British board game “The Landlord’s Game,” it exists with nearly all its pieces, hand-drawn by one of the game’s original creators and the man responsible for popularization in the States, Charles Darrow, who made nearly 5,000 of the sets in his home before selling to Parker Brothers in 1935. Here’s a bit about the set itself and how the museum came to own it:

This Monopoly set, created with pen-and-ink and gouache on a circular piece of oilcloth, was handmade by Darrow in Philadelphia and rumored to be the size and shape of Darrow’s dining room table. The handmade set contains more than 200 pieces, including a rules sheet, playing cards, and playing pieces such as draw-cards, hotels and houses, banknotes, and tokens. This Darrow Monopoly game was acquired from the Forbes Toy Collection auction at Sotheby’s in New York City on December 17.

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