Whether you’re digging through your old childhood toys or coming across vintage toys in the thrift store, you may wonder if these used toys can have any value. Flipping vintage items–from clothing to knickknacks and everything in between–is a common side hustle.
If you’ve visited a flea market, you have probably seen vintage toy vendors peddling dolls from your childhood (or your parents’ childhood). Maybe you’ve also pondered whether you could do the same.
The first step to starting any business, from small side hustles to a full-time six-figure enterprise, is determining whether it could be profitable. Just because you see other folks trying to sell decades-old dolls, figures, and games does not mean they are bringing home the bacon.
For some people, the social aspect of hanging out at the flea market and engaging with other antique enthusiasts is more than enough of a reward. For others, though, flea marketing or vintage e-commerce is more than a hobby. It can be a lucrative stream of income if you play your cards right–literally.
In this article, we’ll go over whether old board games have value and, if so, which games are most valuable for resale.
Do Old Board Games Have Value?
The answer to this question largely depends on the type of board game it is, whether the market finds it valuable, and what kind of condition the old board game is in. Old board games can have a monetary value. Sometimes, old board games can be worth thousands of dollars. This, however, is a rarity. Most old board games are worth ten dollars or less.
There are several reasons why one game might have less value than others. If a game was super popular in its heyday, there might be a large number of these games remaining. Therefore, the competition to sell them is high while the demand may be relatively low. If you are struggling to get rid of an old board game because everyone else around you has it lying around their game room, it’s probably not a high-value vintage game.
If, on the other hand, a game is almost impossible to find in antique shops or at major online secondhand retailers, you may have a higher-earning old board game on your hands.
While you can’t expect most of the old board games sitting in your basement or storage unit to make you a fortune, old board games can earn you a few bucks. Some can even earn you hundreds or over a thousand dollars if they are well-preserved. Whether an old board game makes you money or not, it has emotional value.
The nostalgia of playing the game and the delight of passing it on to future generations can be priceless value in and of itself.
Which Old Board Games Have Value?
Most old board games that have are out of print. The most valuable games are usually the rarest. This means that a board game from the 1940’s will probably have more value than a game that is less than 15 years old. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Also, board games with unique features such as hand-carved pieces or international games may have high value.
According to their article on the subject, the most valuable board game is Be a Manager (1967, BAMCO), which usually sells for about $1,500. Next on the list is Fortune (1935, Parker Brothers), which can retail for an average of $1,360 on eBay. After that, War of the Ring Collector’s Edition (2010, Fantasy Flight Games) ranks in third, selling for about $1,200.
In fourth place, Swift Meats Major League Baseball Game (1957, Swift Meats) can bring home about $1,084. In fifth place, Keywood (1995, R&D Games) sells for an average of $860.
As for the rest, prices tend to dip below $800. Haunted House (1962, IDEAL) can earn up to $800. The Elvis Presley Game (1957, Teen-Age Games) rakes in an average of $799. Settlers of Catan 3D Collector’s Edition (2005, Mayfair Games) can bring in up to $775. The 1933 edition of Monopoly (1933, Parker Brothers) is worth about $760.
Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game (1966, REMCO) can sell for roughly $750.Axis & Allies 50th Anniversary Edition (2008, Avalon Hill) can make up to $588. The Moon Mullins Game (1927, Milton Bradley) goes for about $550. Dark Tower (1981, Milton Bradley) sells for roughly $535. Boris Karloff’s Monster Game (1965, Game Gems) can make up to $522.
The value dips lower for the last few on the list. La Bataille de Deutsch-Wagram (1981, Marshall Enterprises) sells for an average of $502. War in Europe (1999, Decision Games) usually makes about $500 on resale. Case Blue (2007, Multi-Man Publishing) sells for about $500.
Warhammer Quest (1995, Games Workshop) rakes in about $500. Mickey Mouse Snakes & Ladders (Unknown, The Chad Valley Games) sells as a collectible for roughly $484. Finally, The Devil’s Cauldron (2008, Multi-Man Publishing) sells for about $481.
As you can see, there is a wide range of profits that old board games can bring to those who find them in their attic (or their grandparents’ attics). Whether you strike gold by accidentally stumbling upon a valuable game or purposefully hunt these games down in thrift stores and try to sell them at a higher price point to turn a small profit, you probably won’t make a nest egg by selling old board games.
Still, for a few extra bucks–or some funds to make your kids’ holiday that much more magical–selling old board games can be a great occasional stream of income. Even if your game isn’t on this list, a customer may be willing to pay more for a game if it means a lot to them and they have a hard time finding it.
How Do I Value My Board Games?
There are a few different considerations you need to make when pricing a board game. According to an article on brandonthegamedev.com, “Make sure you take into account the complexity of your game, the components included, the length, and its physical size. I even recommend you go to a local gaming store to look at the boxes, still shrink wrapped, and compare them to their prices. That can tell you a lot about how board gamers value games.”
If a game is missing pieces, stored in a beat-up, mildew-ridden box, or even too easy to find, you may want to adjust your price accordingly. If you wouldn’t pay $1,000 (or even $20) for a game, it’s safe to say that most people probably also wouldn’t want to drop that kind of dough on it.
At the same time, don’t rule out the value of a game just because you are sick of seeing it sitting in the corner of your attic. If it’s one of the high earners on the list above or if it’s a game you see going for a high price at your local gaming store, it’s safe to say that your game might be worth more than you think.