Your Old Board Games Could Be Worth Thousands. Here’s How to Sell Them.
If you have a vintage Monopoly set lying around, you could exchange your fake money for real cash. A 1933 version sold at auction for $120,000.
A 90-year-old copy of Monopoly isn’t the only board game that can fetch a high price.
“There are some games that are worth a few hundred dollars now,” Joyce Grant of Time Warp Toys said in an email.
Her holy grail, Haunted House by Ideal, sold for more than $500 in 2022. At the same time, not every game gathering dust on thrift store shelves is valuable. How do you separate the $5 find from the $500 one?
How to Sell Your Board Games
Know What Makes a Game Valuable
Let’s test your board game valuation skills with a real-life example. If you came across Mayfair Games Settlers of Catan 3D Treasure Chest Edition, how much would you think it was worth?
“Only 5,000 were produced and they include hand-painted 3D hex pieces,” Dan Leeder of Noble Knight Games explained in an email. “It comes in a wooden treasure chest box and the game is a sight to behold! Catan Studio (which now owns the rights to Catan) recently produced an updated 3D version but the box is not nearly as cool.”
What price did the experts set for this nerdy treasure? A little over $1,500. That’s a lot of wool, lumber and brick.
Here are the factors they would have considered when setting that price:
Condition, condition, condition: Condition is to board games as location is to real estate.
“Unless a game is extremely rare, I won’t bother buying if [it’s] not in fairly good condition,” Grant said.
When you pick up a board game, ask yourself: Are all the pieces there? Are the cards creased? Is the box intact? If the answer to those questions is “no,” move on.
Craftsmanship: A high-quality board game can be a true work of art. And collectors will pay accordingly. Look for games illustrated by well known artists, in great detail or with valuable materials. (Yes, there are board games made of gold and gems.)
Rarity: Over 50 million copies of Rummikub have been sold. It is not rare or valuable on the resale market. Only 5,000 copies of Mayfair Games Settlers of Catan 5D Treasure Chest Edition were produced. That’s one reason people pay over a grand to get their hands on it.
Crossover appeal: “I am always looking for old TV show games of the 50s and 60s,” Grant said.
Space, war and music-themed games are also popular with collectors. If you see a board game with a unique theme, grab it. Two groups of people will be interested: Fans of the theme and board game collectors.
Find Valuable Board Games
You know what to look for. Now you need to know where to look. To find valuable board games, start with your own attic. That childhood board game could be worth a small fortune today. Once you’ve raided your own collection, try:
Thrift stores: Vintage board games often languish on the shelves of secondhand shops. If you look for forgotten treasure at Goodwill, don’t forget to check for missing pieces.
Estate sales: People are so busy looking for designer clothes and antique furniture at estate sales that they forget about the little things. Rather, the 12” by 9” things. More for you.
Auctions: If you’re ready to get serious with your board game side hustle, try an auction. Who knows? You could end up winning a bid on a rare auction-themed board game.
Sell Your Board Games
You can sell board games in many of the usual places people sell things online. But the passionate board game community has its niche markets, too. Wherever you sell, be sure to list the game’s condition – especially if there are any pieces missing!
eBay: If you have a truly special game on your hands, why not start a bidding war on eBay? There are listing fees, but it could be worth it to drive up the price on a rare item.
Amazon: There is a surprisingly robust used board game market on Amazon. If the game you want to sell has a unique product code (UPC), it’s relatively simple to list your copy. If it doesn’t (and many vintage games don’t), you may want to try another market – or contact Amazon to make sure you don’t fall afoul of their terms and conditions.
GeekMarket: BoardGameGeek is the heart of the online board game community – and it hosts a market for the community, too. GeekMarket is so simple it almost looks like a Web 1.0 site. You post the price, condition and description of your game; name your price and preferred payment method; then, arrange it with your buyer. If your item sells, you pay BoardGameGeek 4% of the sale price.
Contact a board game seller: If all this sounds like too much effort, leave it to the experts. “We’ve been in business for 26 years now, so we are reliable and you don’t have to worry about all the work of listing your items yourself or getting scammed,” Leeder said. Contact your local board game store or get a quote from Noble Knight Games here.
What to Do If Your Board Games Aren’t So Valuable
You’ve raided your attic, done your research and valued your old board games at precisely zero dollars. It happens. If your board game isn’t worth much as a whole, it might be more profitable to sell the pieces. One side hustler made $250 selling spare board game pieces on eBay.
Alternatively, you could just… keep them. That first edition of Monopoly may be valuable, but the memories of playing Monopoly with your family are priceless.
Contributor Ciara McLaren is a freelance writer with work in Insider, HuffPost and elsewhere. You can follow her on Substack (@camclaren).