c.1889 Parker Bros., "The Game of Soldier Boy" in Original Box

c.1889 Parker Bros.,

I had to look twice when I first found this board game. Manufactured by Parker Brothers it's obviously very old. Definitely pre-World War 1. Possibly pre-Spanish American War. I could find only a single, obscure Internet reference; to Parker Brothers "The Soldier Boy" manufactured in 1889. And although I have several game reference books, it wasn't in any of them.

Even with a history of more than 100 years, amazingly it's never been played! Yes, it's complete and the contents are NM to mint in box. All its condition issues are due to storage and time, not playwear.

It has several notable features. The playing pieces consist of four, 2½" tall, unmarked, hand painted lead (soldier) officers. All are 2nd Lieutenant graduates. Differentiated by their base color (red, green, blue, and yellow) each uniformed piece wears a trim navy blue topcoat, light blue trousers, and gray hat. These are incredibly detailed with individual button, belt buckles, inseams, cuffs and epaulets. Each eye can be easily discerned and all sport an large upturned mustache and white beard. Each carrys at left shoulder arms a long bayonet rifle. The rifles were painted with brown stock and silver barrels. Details such as the rifle trigger guards can be seen. The paint is 100% intact. You can tell by looking at them that they've never been handled (for playing).

Each solider is still nestled in the original natural spun wool batting! Before finding this game, I had only seen traces of this material.

Adjacent to the soldiers is the original paper envelope containing 45, ½" pressed cardboard disks. 15 each of blue, yellow, and green. The envelope is still sealed. It had cracked open as the paper aged and dried. There's also the original square cardboard spinner with metal arrow. It's never been used.

The condition and quality of the fold out board (approx. 20" x 21") is amazing. Not a tinge of warping and the cloth gauze strip connecting the two halves is all in place and complete. It has a full color chromolithographed print on one side and a textured maroon backing. The main illustration shows the soldiers during graduation exercises. An enlisted man and officer stand in the foreground in conversation with their "ladies in waiting". Behind them trailing into the distance are the line of graduates standing at attending. A grandstand across the field is filled with on-lookers. The two other illustrations consist of a student soldier taking his 1st Class June examination. The other shows a disciplinary court martial with the soldier standing at attention in front of a seated administrator. The remaining area of the board has action squares which end in Graduation. My favorite is "smoking cigarettes, go back 4 spaces".

A ¼" thick wood strip separates the smaller parts from the board. The board rests on it original cardboard insert.

The box is a solid deep red color with text filling the entire cover panel. There are no illustrations on the box. All of the original box aprons, top and bottom, are in place. Plus the red covering which extends partially onto the inside edges of the box, and over the first ¼" or so of the box bottom, is 100% intact. The front apron has its original gold oval .50¢ price sticker labeled John Wanamaker, Philadelphia.

Size: Box 14" x 11" x 1½"

Sold: Mar. 2009

Price Sold: $ 668


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Subject: c.1889 Parker Bros., "The Game of Soldier Boy" in Original Box

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