Tag Archives: Stock Exchange Add-On

1933 Charles Darrow Copyright Application

175682834_10102442439430544_3777269209585874119_nA new avenue for research into the early history of Monopoly has appeared. The Library of Congress is making images of the original index cards that go with copyright registrations available online via a new method.

This means it’s now possible to see what’s written on the copyright registration card that Charles Darrow took out in 1933 for Monopoly.  What did he copyright, exactly?

Darrow only put a copyright notice on his game boards, and never on the rules or anywhere else on his sets.  The rules were changed over time, however, and copyrights themselves only offered limited legal protection.

My theory is, he sent the entire game, perhaps a Tiebox set. Any boards that have the 1933 copyright notice on them are from after the fact.  From previous research, I found he copyrighted Monopoly in the same category as you would copyright a book.  Two copies were required along with the notarized registration form and a fee.

Darrow applied for a copyright on Monopoly in October 1933, probably at the urging of his printer, F. Lytton Patterson Jr., who was likely very much used to applying for copyrights on books his firm published. 

All Darrow’s previous games had been hand made, but once he started selling more of them, he turned to his printer friend for help.  At first, they tried printing onto oilcloth, but this was difficult, and soon switched to a conventional board made of paper and cardboard.

The original publication date was listed as July 30, 1933, which could have been a problem later for Parker Brothers with the 1935 Monopoly patent #2026082.  The patent was not actually filed until more than two years since the publication date, which could have been enough to invalidate it, if it had been challenged in court.

Supposedly, Darrow’s original copyright exhibits disappeared from the Library of Congress under mysterious circumstances.  The story goes that Parker Brothers may have sent Darrow himself to remove them, as a way of muddying the waters on the true origins of the game, but I have no way of knowing if this is true.  Parker Brothers copyrighted their own versions of the rules once they took over the game in 1935, and received a new copyright for the board that same year, after prices were added.

Thanks to John Buell, some of the relevant index cards have been located, both for Monopoly, the Stock Exchange Add-On, and Bulls and Bears.

Stock Exchange was purchased by Parker Brothers within a few months of going on the market in 1936, so the copyright was then assigned to them.

Charles Darrow assigned his copyright to Parker Brothers early in 1936.  His 1933 copyright was good for 28 years, and was renewed in 1961, so there was another assignment for that.

In 1937, Parker Brothers hoped that their new Bulls and Bears game would be another success like Monopoly, but it was a dud, in spite of their use of Charles Darrow as a sort of “celebrity endorser.”  His name was put on the game as the supposed inventor, but the copyright index files show the actual game’s creator was Clarence Paul Meier.

Here’s what I found about him online:

“A little about the artist, Clarence Paul Meier was born in Newark, NJ November 1897. He was the youngest of 3 children, served in the army during WWI. He married Virginia Stryker in 1921, they lived in Flushing, NY where he was an accountant. He had a cartoon published in 1928. His comic strip ran in the Long Island Daily Press, Jamaica, NY. He did some interior decorating work but my favorite works of his are the distinctive lithographs depicting lively bar, horse racing and other scenes of the happier era before prohibition and the economic depression of the early 1930’s.”

He died in 1976.

-David Sadowski


Reproduction 1936 Capitol Novelty STOCK EXCHANGE Add-On

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A reproduction 1936 Capitol Novelty STOCK EXCHANGE Add-On set for Monopoly, Finance, and Easy Money games, is now available from The Folkopoly Press.

Once MONOPOLY became a national craze in 1935, C. B. Hewison was inspired to create this add-on enhancement for the game. To play, you place the STOCK EXCHANGE patch over the FREE PARKING square, which otherwise has no function.

Three “Advance to Stock Exchange” cards are added to the Chance and Community Chest piles, and when players land on Stock Exchange, they can purchase stock (either one or two shares at a time, to be determined before the game starts), or, if others already own stock, pay them dividends.

As with other properties owned in MONOPOLY, the amount of money collected increases with the number of shares owned of the same type. Shares can be bought and sold among the players, and mortgaged to the bank.

Original Capitol Novelty STOCK EXCHANGE sets are extremely rare, and generally sell for hundreds of dollars on the collector market. This set, an excellent reproduction inspired by the 1936 original, is available at a fraction of that price and should be of interest to the early Monopoly collector.

This set includes:

1 Implements box (7″ x 8″ x 1″)
30 Shares (5 each of 6 different companies)
6 Advance to Stock Exchange cards (3 for Chance, 3 for Community Chest)
1 Rules sheet
1 Certificate of Authenticity

As with our other reproduction games, this set is completely hand-made and involves a considerable amount of labor to create. Therefore, they will always be made in very small quantities for the discerning collector.

This set is available now for just $29.99. Shipping within the United States costs just $5.00.











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


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.




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.













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











The eBay Beat: Metal Monopoly Money, Boondoggling Board, Stock Exchange


Metal Monopoly Money

A nearly complete set of metal Monopoly money recently sold on eBay for $811.00.

These are very rare, as evidenced in the price. Metal money was used for a few years in the late 1930s in some of Parker Brothers’ most expensive sets, perhaps inspired by the poker chips sometimes used by early Monopoly players. You could also purchase a set separately from those games.

Parker did use similar metal money in other games in this era. However, these coins in particular have been criticized for their design since they apparently do not stack well.

Here is the seller’s description:

You are bidding on a box of metal Monopoly money (coins) – box is approx. 4 3/4″ x 2″. The last ones on Ebay sold in 2012 for 1439.00 you can’t find them on eBay or anywhere else on an internet research. The coins are a Parker Brothers after market item sold as replacement pieces or to upgrade other sets. Denominations are $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $500. I don’t know how many coins there should be, there are spacers in the box to hold them in place and box looks full maybe a few missing. The box has some wear, a little bit of scuffing and a tear. Coins are all in good condition.








Boondoggling Board

Although in general Boondoggling sets have sold for a lot of money in the last few years, this recent auction for the board only was an exception. It seems to have gone unnoticed by some collectors and sold for just $16.66.

We recently reported on a complete Boondoggling set that sold for $500. Looks like someone got a real bargain here.













Stock Exchange Add-On

A Parker Brothers Stock Exchange Add-On recently sold on eBay for $275.00.

As the BoardGameGeek web site notes:

STOCK EXCHANGE was orignally marketed by Capitol Novelty Co. as a supplement for Monopoly, Easy Money, and Finance real estate trading games. It allows players to buy and trade stocks in addition to real estate. Players attempt to build a portfolio of stock which will pay them dividends and give them more monetary clout during the game.

Parker Brothers purchased the game from Capitol Novelty in 1936 and marketed it for a short time as a supplement for only Monopoly and Finance games (both Parker Brothers games), dropping Milton Bradley’s Easy Money game. The 1937 version dropped the Finance reference and only listed Monopoly on the game box.

Contains: Stock exchange board space (fits over “Free Parking.”), eleven new Community Chest cards, ten new Chance cards, thirty stock shares (five each of six different companies).


Stock Exchange was available in the US during the late 1930s, and there are a few variations of these sets. There were also international versions (for Canada and Australia at least), and those are collectible as well.

The add-on was briefly reissued in a new version made by Chessex in 1992 that is considered less collectible.

Stock Exchange is also thought to have helped inspire the Parker game Bulls and Bears (1936), which was heavily promoted as a supposed follow-up to Monopoly. Parker used Charles B. Darrow as a sort of celebrity endorser to this game, claiming he was the inventor. But he actually had even less to do with this game than with Monopoly. Bulls and Bears was developed by Parker’s own staff.

Perhaps Parker Brothers hoped to burnish Darrow’s credentials as a supposed inventor of Monopoly in the public mind by associating him with another game.

The name also harkens back to the Parker card game Pit, which eventually acquired Bull and Bear cards.

Bulls and Bears sold well for a brief period of time, but it was not a very interesting game compared to Monopoly, in part because it did not have Monopoly’s 30 year gestation period.

The square patch that came with Stock Exchange sometimes got glued onto Monopoly boards, and is generally considered to reduce their value as a result. Often, partial Stock Exchange sets are found mixed in with Monopoly sets, and these generally are missing the box, which is key to value.

-Clarence B. Darwin