Dec. 17, 2010 was a nail-biter for the staff at the National Museum of Play. Its curator made the 250-mile trip from Rochester, N.Y., to New York where he sat in Sotheby's wood-paneled auction room. "It was our curator and a phone bidder—just the two of them," recalled collections vp Christopher Bensch, "and it was all over in under a minute." The museum parted with $146,500 but gained a crown jewel. The world's oldest known Monopoly board had been sold.