This game is not licensed nor produced by Hasbro, Inc., producers of MONOPOLY® game equipment & related marketing efforts.
THE OLDEST KNOWN FORMAL MONOPOLY GAME - 97 Years Old
THE 1920 PHILADELPHIA FOLK MONOPOLY GAME is an original almost 100 year old MONOPOLY game that was created in the fall of 1920. It reflects the 1920 Philadelphia, PA area, especially the Main Line western suburbs around Haverford College. The game set was created by two sons of an old Main Line Quaker family who were members of the Haverford College classes of 1922 & 1924. The game was played with classmates at Haverford College and their nearby family home in Haverford, PA.
The brothers were taught the game during the summer of 1920 while they were staying at their cabin within a private preserve in the Poconos. It appears they were taught the game by Rexford Guy Tugwell who, along with his wife, appears to have spent two weeks as guests of Henry Woolman in his nearby cabin within the same private preserve. That summer after completing the requirements for his PhD, Tugwell transitioned from the University of Pennsylvania to Columbia University in New York City. In a later career change, Tugwell joined President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration and became one of six members of Roosevelt’s Brain Trust. Coincidently, there is at least one more direct link between The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game and the Roosevelt administration. Research continues.
Approximately 25 years after graduating from Haverford College and after the death of their mother, the two Quaker brothers closed the old family home near Haverford College. During the process of moving, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game set was misplaced and subsequently lost.
Afterwards, approximately another 25 years later, one of the brothers responded to a 1973 newspaper article regarding a fictional Charles Darrow monopoly creation story. He wrote a letter-to-the-editor about a homemade monopoly game he and his brother created in the fall of 1920. He wrote about their game's history and attributes that clearly reflect The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game.
Separate and independent documentation identifies additional game attributes definitively linking the brothers to the game set. In addition, the game set itself exhibits distinct attributes referencing its' creators and their extended family which provides capstone and undisputable evidence of the direct linkage between The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game and its' creators - the two Main Line Quaker brothers from Haverford, Pennsylvania.
One critically unique characteristic of The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game set is that it is clearly and undisputably a formally known MONOPOLY real estate board game. The game board center prominently exhibits the word "MONOPOLY" and is the only known folk monopoly game to date that does so. And, do so approximately 15 years prior to the issuance of Charles Darrow's errant Monopoly patent & prior to the issuance of Parker Brother's related Trade Mark. Additionally, some property deeds exhibit the word "MONOPOLY".
Consequently, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game is tangible evidence of a MONOPOLY real estate trading game extant in the public domain in 1920. It reinforces the voluminous circumstantial testimonial evidence gathered by Ralph Anspach of numerous folk monopoly players who stated they played a real estate game called "monopoly" within the 24 year era between 1909 and 1933. However, current research indicates this date range should be shortened by at least 4 years to 1913-1933 due to facts that support later dating for two documented folk monopoly games. Research continues. Regardless, this 20 or 24 year period represents folk monopoly game play in the north-eastern, eastern, south-eastern and mid-western regions of the USA well before 1935 when circumstances resulted in a Monopoly patent issued to Charles Darrow and a Monopoly trade mark issued to Parker Brothers.
Fast forwarding 65 years to the summer of 2014, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game resurfaced as part of a Philadelphia family estate sale, the family completely unrelated to the two Quaker brothers who created the game. Based upon information provided at the time of acquisition, the game was acquired by the estate heir's grandfather. As a result, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game is no longer hidden from the public. As an almost 100 year old MONOPOLY game, it is set to become an antique MONOPOLY game in 2020.
Lastly, regardless of a variety of other category rankings for the oldest folk monopoly game, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game set is documented as the oldest known formal MONOPOLY game set as evidenced by its age, by the word MONOPOLY prominently displayed in the center of the game board, and by a full set of playing utensils and utensils box. In addition, it also appears to be a game made for the largest group of players in the folk monopoly world with 11 custom made movers/ markers/ tokens/ pieces which are literally “men”. And, it is the oldest known folk monopoly game set to use both paper and poker chip money. This game set exhibits several folk monopoly firsts - it is the total package. The quality of materials and construction also speak for themselves. The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game set was meant to last through generations of game play.
The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game board of this almost 100 year old MONOPOLY game set provides a tour of Philadelphia locales, especially around Haverford College, during a time when playing a folk monopoly game was a popular pastime at north-eastern, eastern and south-eastern seaboard colleges, including Wharton, Haverford & Swarthmore. By this time, folk monopoly game play also extended to the mid-west to Michigan and Indiana.
The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game board is a well-engineered, hand-crafted, and finely finished wood game board constructed for generations of game play.
The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game utensils box contains:
- Leather Dice Cup w/ Cellulose Dice
- Manual Typewritten Deeds on Card Stock
- Large & Small recycled Haverford College Card Stock Paper Money
- Hand carved Mahogany Wood Houses with open Windows
- Hand carved Mahogany Men/ Movers/ Tokens/ Markers/ Pieces
A separate caddy holds smaller denomination poker chip money.