Vintage Monopoly Games

Early Monopoly Game Facts:

Dan is not the ultimate authority on Vintage Monopoly Games as there are several fellow collectors who are more knowledgeable than Dan - but he continues to learn.

Here is the order of production of Monopoly Games from 1933-1934 through the 1950s including Patent and Trade Mark Registrations:

  • 1933-1934 Charles B. Darrow Round Oil Cloth
  • 1934 Charles B. Darrow Square Oil Cloth with components in tie boxes.
  • 1934 Charles B. Darrow 23" board with components in tie boxes or possibly a long box.
  • 1934 Charles B. Darrow White Box with 2 versions – early version white backed board later version black backed board.
  • 1935 Charles B. Darrow 2nd Generation Small Black Box. 7,500 were manufactured with 1,600 sold before Parker Brothers Bought the rights to the game.
  • 1935 Darrow sells Monopoly to Parker Brothers March 19, 1935 and applies for a Registered Trade Mark on March 30, 1935.
  • 1935 Darrow/Parker Brothers Hybrid Game
  • 1935 Trade Mark White Box and #7 Black Box.
  • 1935 Application for Trademark/1,509,312 Patent White Box Game August 31, 1935.
  • 1935 Patent Pending Game. There is no known Patent Pending White Box Game
  • Maggie Philips sells second Landlords Game Patent #1,509,312 to Parker Brothers Nov. 5, 1935
  • Nov. 1, 1935 to Jan. 1936 #1,509,312 Patent Game plus several specialty games.
  • Jan. 1, 1936 to Dec. 31, 1941 - 1,509,312 - 2,026,082 Patents Game.
  • 1937-1938 YOUNG MAN Junior set (see gallery in Blue Box #6 section). This is the only set that uses the identifier "Junior Set" clearly printed on the Box.
  • December 31, 1935 #2,026,082 Patent issued and used from 1937 to Dec. 31, 1952.
  • Jan. 1953 onward no patent numbers were used

Assumptions to Consider

  • Any Game with prices on the property squares, which have "Reg. US Patent Office" on the center of the playing surface would have been made after July 30, 1935.
  • Patent Pending games or anything referring to Patent Pending were manufactured after August 31, 1935 to Nov. 5, 1935.
  • Games that have the 1,509,312 Patent Number were manufactured after November 5, 1935.
  • Games that have two patent numbers were manufactured after December 31, 1935 and were last used when it expired Dec. 31, 1941.
  • Earliest Game Instructions used by Parker Brothers April 17, 1935 - slight revision of Darrow's rules from the 1935 2nd generation Darrow Black Box sets for Darrow-Parker Brothers Hybrid Black Box sets. Main identifier are the parenthesis around the word Trade-Mark. These are extremely rare! (See #7 Photo Gallery for Example).
  • Next version of instructions was May 31, 1935 and was the first Parker Brothers version made for the Trade-Mark sets. Main identifiers are the parenthesis around Trade-Mark and in bolded text the wording, “2 can play or any number up to nine persons.” These are very rare! (See #7 Photo Gallery for Example).
  • Most commonly found true Parker Brothers Trade-Mark Instructions was revised on July 9, 1935. The main identifiers are the dropping of the parenthesis around Trade-Mark and the bolded text “2 can play or any number up to nine persons.” These are rare! (See #7 Photo Gallery for Example).
  • Patent Pending instructions arrived on November 5, 1935 and were very short lived (maybe a couple of weeks) as the filing for the copyright of the Patent Pending rules occurred on the same day that the #1,509,312 patent was purchased by Parker Brothers. These are very rare! (See #7 Photo Gallery for Example).

Additional information on Monopoly Money and Game Tokens

  • The 1933-34 Charles B. Darrow Oil Cloth and 1934 White Box versions used a unique style of money which has the value amount in the center only. (See Photo Gallery)
  • The 1935 2nd Generation Charles B. Darrow Game, which is the smaller Black Box, used money that not only has the value in the center, but also in each corner of the bill. Important to note that the $500 bills are Salmon in color and the 100s Goldenrod. (See Photo Gallery) This set was also the only one to use bone dice and colored borders around the property cards.
  • This style of money including the Salmon $500's were then used by Parker Brothers in their early Trade Mark Sets. (See Photo Gallery)
  • Later Trade Mark sets and most Patent Pending sets continued to use this style money, with the exception that the Salmon $500's were changed to Goldenrod and the 100s to Salmon. (See Photo Gallery)
  • The 1935 Parker Brothers Trade Mark Set was the first Monopoly set to have Playing Tokens as standard equipment.
  • METAL TOKENS - The early metal die cast tokens were made by the Dowst Manufacturing Company with a Zinc alloy called Zamak. It is also referred to as Pot Metal or White Metal. The dark oxidation, which is very common with many of the early Monopoly tokens (1935-1938), was a result of impurities in the manufacturing process. By the late 1930s these impurities were eliminated. The metal tokens were the same charms that Cracker Jack used and were made by the same company, Dowst Manufacturing Co., out of Chicago. The Dowst Company invented die casting and also made the first die cast cars ... Tootsie Toys!
  • WOODEN TOKENS were put into use in late spring 1936 and NOT just for WWII during the metal shortage.
  • WORLD WAR 2 MONOPOLY - At the beginning of World War 2, the War Production Board was established as a government agency on January 16, 1942 by executive order of President Roosevelt to regulate materials and fuels. These restrictions included metal, so Monopoly Games shifted from metal to many different types of wooden and composite tokens. Colors, shapes and sizes varied with these tokens. These were found mostly in the Dollar Sign, #6 Blue Box, #9 White Box Editions and in some cases in #8 Popular Edition 2 Patent games (the #8 series was discontinued early into the War years and was restarted in 1946).
  • WOOD CYLINDER TOKENS – These were used exclusively in the #6 Blue Box games during WW2. And after careful examination of the rest of the components of this version, I am now of the opinion that these tokens were made after the start of WW2 to be in compliance with the War Production Board mandates to conserve metal and were produced from 1942 to approximately 1944. Another indicator of manufacture dates was that earlier #6 versions had Salmon 100s and later versions light yellow 100s. There are 2 specific cylinder sizes (see component section).
  • COMPOSITE TOKENS made of compressed paper and/or sawdust were produced during WWII and used until just after the War 1945-1946. I have never seen a plastic set of composite tokens. These Composite Tokens resembled a car, pig, train, cannon, elephant, iron, dog, bathtub, shoe, battleship, tank, horse & rider, fighter plane (rare), and a DC-3 cargo plane (very rare). These tokens were found in the Dollar Sign, #9 White Box games and, in some cases, in #8 Popular Edition 2 Patent games early into the War years.
  • The COPYRIGHT DATE on the instructions is not necessarily the manufacture date of the game. The copyright date can actually cover several different editions and manufacture years. (see above).
  • Early game editions have the Copyright 1933 Chas. B. Darrow in the Jail Square. The 1934 and 1935 Charles B. Darrow Games had this copyright. When Darrow sold the game rights to the game to Parker Brothers in 1935, Parker Brothers Games maintained the Darrow Copyright on the board Jail Square through 1936.
  • Patent pending instructions were manufactured from November 5, 1935 to January 1936.
  • The Penny Bags symbol started to be used in late 1936.
  • The Pencil sketch or caricatures used on the Chance and Community Chest cards started September 1, 1936 and were used through 1937.
Property Cards
  • The first Darrow Property Cards were relatively simple with printing on a colored cardboard and blank backs. The 1935 2nd Generation Darrow Black Box initiated the card style we see today. The 2nd Generation Black Box cards are the only ones that have a matching colored line border - the rest have a black line border. From the original Darrow White box & 2nd Generation Black Box to the early 1,509,312 Patent game the property cards have blank backs. Some early 1936 dual patent #7 games have been reported to have blank backs.
  • Marvin Gardens $22 rent is in every set prior to 1951. Yes, this was an error, but THIS IS NOT A RARE PROPERTY CARD.
Game Dice
  • In Darrow’s early games, he uses whatever dice were available. The early version of the 1934 Darrow White box may have used bone dice, but the later version had 3/8 inch Silver colored hollow metal dice with punched holes as standard equipment.
  • The 1935 2nd Generation Darrow Game is the only Monopoly Game set that used 3/8 inch BONE DICE as standard equipment.
  • From the 1935 Trade Mark set into the 1940’s, mostly white bakelite dice were used. I have also seen wooden dice (both natural and red in color) and green or red bakelite dice.
Special thanks to Harold Lee, David Sadowski, Chris Williamson, Phil Orbanes, Roger Kaland and Chris Brainard for their assistance over the years in confirming the accuracy of these game facts.

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