c.1903 Spears, "The Game of the Goose" in Original Box

c.1903 Spears,

I can't recall the last time I graded a mint in box toy that was over 100 years old! But this incredible "The Game of the Goose" manufactured by Spear's Games in Bavaria is exactly that. The condition is one point, but the game itself is another. The Game of the Goose was first produced in 1859. It was the first "race type" game which used numbered spaces to delineate player position. The idea was based on the Egyptian game of Hounds and Jackals which originated 2000 years earlier. 

It's also complete with every part. The toy uses four hand molded composition geese as playing parts. Each measures over 3" tall. The head and neck sections are separate parts, held in place with an internal lead counterweight. In other words, in addition to being a hand painted composition figure, each is also a nodder! All four geese are different. One has an erect head, another partially erect, the third pecks at the ground, and the fourth also pecks the ground but is slightly upright. The feather colors are also different ranging from black, gray, and white. Intricate details such as bill color, eyes with pupils, and webbed feet were also included. The wooden base of each goose was painted different; yellow, white, blue, and red. 

Composition toys of any vintage are difficult to find complete and intact. These toys were able to avoid damage because of the "insert". Solid wooden planks, painted white, and glued into the box were used. Slits were cut into the planks which fit the diameter of the legs exactly. Colored straw was then used as cushioning material to prevent movement. 

The playing board is quarter folded held together with gauze seams. It folds out to a gigantic 31" x 21". The surface is slightly textured. Colors were printed using intricate chromolithography which makes them appear super strong, clear, and distinct. It's in absolutely perfect condition without a single mark on it. The images are fabulous showing an array of children, animals, and geese in various situations. 

Also included is the original wooden dice cup lathed from a single piece of hard wood maple. The dice are bone with hand painted black dots. The original numbered cards 1-4 are also present. Although complete, the cards have multiple perforations of unknown origin. Thankfully all of the original paper is still there.

The box features a beautiful full color glossy chromolithographic canvas print applied to a lavender colored board. The box was made using a thin layer of canvas laminated to thick walled, pressed wood shavings. It shows a little girl encountering a goose and gander family at a partially opened gate. The fairly mean looking geese (protecting their family) give the girl food for thought whether to proceed, or not. The box is complete except for a single 1¾" x 2¾" section which was missing from the front right corner apron (see 2nd exterior box photo). The section was replaced with identical canvas based material. The original instructions were applied to the inside cover and are intact. 

Size: Box 16" x 14½" x  2¼".

Sold: May 2009

Price Sold: $ 307


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Subject: c.1903 Spears, "The Game of the Goose" in Original Box

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