National Museum of Play buys earliest known Monopoly game

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) – The Strong National Museum of Play has splurged $146,500 on the oldest known version of Monopoly handmade by inventor Charles Darrow.

The children’s museum in Rochester revealed Tuesday it was the winning bidder at Sotheby’s last week for the table-size board game created around 1933 with pen-and-ink and gouache on a circular piece of oilcloth. It contains 200-plus pieces, including playing cards, hotels and bank notes.

Darrow, an unemployed heating engineer in Philadelphia, produced 5,000 copies of the real-estate trading game and sold them through a Philadelphia department store. Parker Brothers bought the rights in 1935.

The game was part of the Forbes Collection of Antique Toys, which Sotheby’s sold last week. The game had a $60,000-$80,000 estimate.

The National Museum of Play boasts the world’s most comprehensive collection of games, toys and play-related objects.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-21-10 2029GMT