P.O. Box 6720 Incline Village, NV 89450 , United States Call Seller 510.414.4545


Early 19th Century American Double Sided Games Board

$ 1,850
  • Description
    Very early American wooden games board; probably the oldest I have handled, this dates to about circa 1835 and exhibits the markings of a typical cottage industry type manufacture (not unlike very early Noah's Arks). Obviously entirely hand crafted; measurements are not exactly square (left to right; top to bottom), probably made of a local soft wood, and hand painted with squares not perfectly delineated. Black light and "loop" inspection reveals age crazing and original paint that, in conjunction with original wear and no attempt to touch up, dates it to the early 19th century. Most definitely American, as the last thing an English immigrant would have brought to America at that time would have been a game.

    When closed, or in the folding position, the board game simulates and is made to look like two books resting side by side (see images), and thusly, was made to sit on a book shelf, either horizontally or vertically; and to be pulled out to play games when desired, which would have been either the game of checkers (draughts), chess, or backgammon. The board opens up to a two sided game option. On one side is the proverbial 64 square (English/ American version) of chess or checkers; and on the other side is a backgammon board. Both sides are hand painted in gold and black, with a rust colored border around the checkerboard. The interior backgammon play area is also black and gold with the same color rust area to the central part. Nail hinges in the center frame, pivot the two sides to open, while a leather covering borders the edge trim, which is 50% lacking on the hinge side. I state the condition to be good, considering it's age, it's use, and the fact that it is still very "usable" and, if taken care of, will probably continue to be so for nearly another 200 years!

    The checkers, (12) black pieces and (12) yellow (the correct numbers) are hand carved in wood and hand painted. The backgammon pieces (stored in period wooden box) contain 14 yellow hand painted and carved pieces and (13) black ones. (15) of each color are used to play backgammon (simply use the checkers, which are just about the same size (see images) to make up the difference. Most antique game boards are offered and don't come with any period pieces.
    This is a very rare and charming article of folk art Americana; seldom seen.

    Note: Before it was "checkers" it was "draughts". The name checkers might have come from the British word "chequers" which referred to the checker board pattern.

    18" wide 16 3/4" high x 1 7/8"
    9" wide x 16 3/4" high x 4" deep (folded)
  • More Information
    Origin: United States
    Period: 19th Century
    Materials: Wood,Hand-Crafted
    Condition: Good. Wear consistent with age and use.
    Styles / Movements: Folk Art, Traditional
    Incollect Reference #: 669360
  • Dimensions
    W. 16.75 in; H. 18 in; D. 4 in;
    W. 42.55 cm; H. 45.72 cm; D. 10.16 cm;
Message from Seller:

We are specialists in the field of antique mechanical coin banks. These rare and unique items were sold during the late 1800's and early 1900's to encourage and educate young children on the importance of saving money, with the majority of them having been made in America. We are leading experts in this field and one of the foremost dealers, having traded in mechanical banks since 1976.

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