The eBay Beat: Shanghai Real Estate, Darrow Black Box, Australian Stock Exchange

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There have been three recent eBay auctions of note, including one where it is not possible to know how much the item sold for. However, it was surely a lot of money, and the rarity of these items makes them interesting regardless.

Australian Stock Exchange

We have written before about the Stock Exchange Add-On to Monopoly sets, first sold in 1936 by the Capitol Novelty Company but soon purchased by Parker Brothers. This rare Australian version, made by the John Sands company, sold for $29.22 USD via a UK auction.

John Sands, in turn, licensed Monopoly from Waddington’s, the English firm that had obtained the rights from Parker Brothers in 1936. The first Aussie sets appeared in 1937.

In general, the Australian Monopoly sets were not as well made as their American counterparts. This Stock Exchange is similar to the US version, except that it is denominated in pound sterling instead of dollars (although Australia has their won dollar today), and the instructions are on a separate sheet instead of being printed on the inside of the box top.

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1935 Darrow Black Box

This recent auction for an incomplete Darrow Black Box Monopoly set, although not in the greatest condition, is still noteworthy, since it must be one of the 1600 sets actually sold by Charles Darrow, and not one of the 5900 that were taken on by Parker Brothers. Parker applied a label to the outside of the game board, not present here, and substituted their own rules. Neither version included tokens, which the buyers were expected to provide themselves.

While not worth anything like the $9,900 asking price, this is still a valuable item with an estimated worth of perhaps $2,000. However, the auction was ended by the seller, possibly indicating a private deal of some sort was reach at undisclosed terms. We may never know the exact amount.

This set includes its apparently original price tag from Snellenburg’s, a Philadelphia department store. Despite their reputation for selling modestly priced items, demand for Monopoly was apparently high enough in early 1935 that they sold this set for $3.00 instead of the usual $2.00. The more elaborate Darrow White Box sets had sold for $3.00 before this.

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Shanghai Real Estate

Our final item is especially rare– a 1930s Chinese Monopoly knock-off. Monopoly became a US phenomenon in 1935, and a world-wide one in 1936. This nicely made set is especially rare since Shanghai was captured by the Japanese in 1937.

This item has been listed several times, with the most recent auction being here. At present, the asking price is $5,113.15. Its actual value, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. One reason it has not sold as of this writing is that $5,113.15 is a lot of money, especially when there are practically no previous sales that collectors can refer to.

-Clarence B. Darwin

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One thought on “The eBay Beat: Shanghai Real Estate, Darrow Black Box, Australian Stock Exchange

  1. Malcolm Holcombe

    It appears the Shanghai Real Estate game had at least two releases with different movers/tokens (?), different board & box wrappers & labels, and text and Community Chest & Chance box orientations in the board center. Properties, houses, hotels, cards, dice & money were the same. It is not clear which version came first. My initial impression is the flat disc movers were first and the metal tokens came afterwards as they would have been more expensive. Although it does not appear that expense was a major issue as the money is finished slip money and the board, box and contents appear to be of 1st quality and don’t appear to suffer from acidification/ deterioration. The overall quality equals or exceeds Parker Bros., especially the cardboard items. In addition, Shanghai Real Estate appears to be made by the same company that issued the Shanghai Millionaire game. Both games share the same properties. However the Shanghai Millionaire board graphics were changed to look more like PB monopoly. It appears the Shanghai Real Estate game came first and evolved into Shanghai Millionaire, possibly with a PB license as the board graphics are so similar to PB’s monopoly. Conversely, the Shanghai Real Estate board graphics are dissimilar to PB monopoly, but are an obvious knock off.

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