How to Determine the Worth and Value of Vintage Puzzles

Vintage puzzles are considered to be a piece of art as well, some of them costing hundreds of dollars. Why is that so? Let us take a look into why these puzzles have so much value in the market.

Some puzzles like the Arteno puzzles and the Philmar Jigsaw puzzle are considered to be vintage. Additionally, there are also puzzles like the pastime puzzles, Madmar puzzles and the millennium falcon puzzle, which are quite valuable. This is because some puzzles like the Madmar date back to the 1920s.

Puzzles date back to more than a century ago when a famous map engraver formed the first ever jigsaw puzzle by dividing the master map in his possession and sectioning it into several different parts. After that, the world saw the creation of many puzzles, and as time went by, some of the puzzles started to become limited in quantity, and they soon became collectible items as the existence of these puzzles became rare as time went by. There exist many vintage puzzles whose creation dates back more than ten years ago, and there are different ways to determine their value in the market so as to not overpay for a vintage puzzle.

Table of contents


Vintage Puzzles – An Introduction

When it comes to puzzles being vintage or antique, they mean two entirely different things. A jigsaw puzzle can be considered to be antique when they are more than a 100 years old, however, puzzles which are more then 20 years old can also be considered as vintage pieces.

The exact age at which a puzzle can be defined as vintage is still a debatable topic, but it lies somewhere near that range.

There are many famous jigsaw puzzles in the market and fulfill that criteria, with some of the famous ones being pastime puzzles, Arteno puzzles and the Madmar as well, each of them being produced at least 20 years before, giving them the title of vintage puzzles.

An example of this is the Arteno puzzle series, which were created in the 1920s and 1930s. The puzzle creator inspired the name of this series, and these vintage puzzles have been cut from plywood with a different type of cutting styles

Vintage wooden puzzles are considered to be one of the first types of jigsaw puzzles to be developed by puzzle companies and are very low in number.

What Makes a Vintage Puzzle So Valuable?

Due to the increased rarity of these types of puzzles, they have become a hot commodity among puzzle enthusiasts and collectors alike. However, it is easy to overpay for such vintage pieces due because they are so rare that it is difficult to determine their value through research.

However, there are a few factors that may help you in determining what the value of vintage puzzles should be.

Overall Condition

This is a factor not just for a vintage puzzle but for almost every collectible product in the market. You must have noticed that a lot of vintage collectibles or antiques in the market are unopened and still in the package.

Some collectors and sellers go so far as further to package them in a container for additional security. Why do they take such drastic measures when protecting these collectibles?

They do this so that the condition of the collectible remains in peak condition for as long as possible. One of the most valuable aspects which determine the value of a vintage puzzle is the condition it is in. Usually, the product description for antique puzzles describes them to be in mint condition.

This means that the puzzle is entirely packaged, and the condition is as good as new, raising the value of the vintage puzzle.

Many vintage puzzles in the market which come in mint condition and an unopened package are more valuable than others.

This is primarily because it is very important for the pieces of the puzzle to be in pristine condition along with the other accessories the puzzle comes with, and this normally skyrockets the price of that vintage puzzle.

Adversely, if the condition of the vintage puzzle is not up to par, and the pieces are wrinkled, or some of them need to be included, then the value of these vintage puzzles tends to plummet as well.

Their Brand

As far as collectible goes, another factor that is applicable in the case of determining the value of a vintage puzzle is the brand that has manufactured them. The top brands in the vintage puzzle market include Waddingtons, Ravensburger, and Heye.

These brands are the brands in the vintage puzzle world that would usually net you the most profit when it comes to buying vintage puzzles of the correct value due to their reputation in the market.

However, this does not mean that one has to swear by these brands and look for vintage puzzles made by them when researching the market.

There are many other factors that may sometimes point to vintage puzzles made by other brands as well, and what is important is selecting vintage puzzles that fulfill the majority of the aforementioned factors.

The reason that these brands are considered to be the best ones in the market when looking for vintage puzzles is because of the reputation they have gained in the market. This is due to the pricing they offer in comparison to other vintage puzzles in the market, as well as the following they have gathered due to their long existence in the market.


Another factor to look out for when determining the value of a vintage puzzle is the rarity of the puzzle itself.

 As discussed previously, a lot of puzzle manufacturers stopped making certain types of the puzzle after some time. This means that these puzzles eventually stopped rolling in the stores, and the quantity of these vintage puzzles became limited.

Now, there may be some vintage puzzles on the market that are unlimited in number, which means there are still a considerable amount of these puzzles available in stores and other platforms.

However, there are some other vintage puzzles that are truly rare to find because only a handful of them exist on the relevant selling platforms in mint condition.

Therefore, it is important to extensively research all the prospective vintage puzzles you find interesting and are looking to buy in the future.

There may be vintage puzzles that may be overpriced because they might need to be higher in number, and after research, you might find that same puzzle for a much lower price.

Research is important in determining the value of a vintage puzzle also because it might end up in your favor.

Sometimes, sellers might value their vintage puzzles lower than the average market value, and after research, you may come across a vintage puzzle that is much rarer and the price is much lower than the average market value of the vintage puzzle.

Quality of craftsmanship

This factor is especially relevant for vintage wooden puzzles due to how they are made and the overall design process they have to go through.

When it comes to wooden puzzles, you must realize that they are one of the first puzzles to come out after the concept of jigsaw puzzles was invented. This makes them truly valuable, with some of them being made around 150 years ago.

Ever since the emergence of vintage wooden puzzles, there have been many puzzle manufacturers who contributed to the puzzle mania which raged throughout the globe during the first part of the 20th century.

During that time, it was considered that everyone with even a little artistic ability could go into the puzzle industry due to the simplicity of puzzles around that time.

Due to this, there were a lot of puzzle companies that didn't care for craftsmanship when it came to creating wooden puzzles, and because of this, craftsmanship is something that you must always consider when looking to buy a vintage wooden puzzle.

Due to the abundance of wooden puzzles on the market, it is easy to overpay for a vintage puzzle that may have chipped pieces or a damaged box as well.

How to Determine Their Value

Understand the puzzle quality

When trying to determine the price of a vintage puzzle, it is important to understand the puzzle's quality first. Only some puzzles are made equal, and a lot of these puzzle companies might have cut corners when it came to the quality of the puzzle pieces or the quality of the box or design as well.

This can result in a lot of low-valued puzzles due to the drop in the quality they have. The overall design process and the construction of the puzzle are very important when determining the price of vintage puzzles.

It should be noted that some vintage puzzles were made more than fifty years ago, which means that the equipment which was used in order to design and produce the puzzle would result in a vintage puzzle that was built to be less sturdy and much cheaper.

The Packaging of the Vintage Puzzle

One more factor which can help you value the vintage puzzle is whether it contains all the accessories and pieces along with the box in which normally the vintage puzzle comes.

There are many vintage puzzles on the market that have already been opened, due to which; their value has been greatly reduced.

This is because it is well-known in the world of collectibles that when the packaging of a collectible has been opened, it loses its ‘mint-condition’ status, which greatly reduces the pricing of that collectible.

In the case that you are buying a vintage puzzle with the packaging already opened, it is important to check whether all the accessories mentioned in the box are included or not.

This is because there can be times when the seller might have opened the box, and this might have caused an accessory or two to get misplaced in the process, and you can use this in order to find the value of the vintage puzzle as well.

Age of the puzzle

Another quality to note when trying to determine the price of a vintage puzzle is how old the vintage puzzle is.

The origin of the jigsaw puzzle dates back to the late 1700s when in 1762, a map engraver by the name of John Spilsbury invented the jigsaw puzzle.

From this information, it can be deduced that jigsaw puzzles can be made as long as more than a hundred years ago, due to which the age of the jigsaw puzzle is also an important factor to consider when trying to determine the price of a vintage puzzle.

For an item to be considered a collectible, it has to be either rare in quantity or very aged. This works for all collectible items, and vintage puzzles also fall under this umbrella as well.

The older the manufacturing date of the vintage puzzle is, the more valuable that puzzle would be in particular, which is why researching the origin date of a vintage puzzle is beneficial when figuring out the price of a specific vintage puzzle you are interested in.

Where Can I Find Collectible Puzzles

Now that we have covered some aspects of what makes a vintage puzzle valuable, as well as some qualities one needs to consider when trying to determine the price of a vintage puzzle, let’s discuss some trusted platforms where one could find these vintage puzzles for the right price.

Although antique stores can be a source for many hidden gems and vintage puzzles with a lot of profit, your best bet should be online selling platforms.

This is because the inventions of online selling platforms such as Amazon and puzzleseek have become a bustling online marketplace where sellers can sell vintage puzzles in the comfort of their own homes.

There are many websites out there where you can buy pre-loved vintage puzzles which can net you a considerable amount of profit if you are looking to flip these items, or can be a collectible item for all collectors out there.

The jigsaw puzzle section of websites such as Puzzleseek always has simple second-hand puzzles, which are from trustworthy sources in most cases. In addition to that, the website contains a lot of filters as well so that you can find just the type of vintage puzzle you are looking for.

Not only can you find a wide variety of vintage puzzles here, but there are many reputed companies, such as Ravensburger, whose vintage puzzles are also listed on that site.

One of the best sources for all things vintage puzzles out there is Amazon as well. Everybody knows that Amazon reigns supreme when it comes to buying and selling products, which makes it one of the best places to buy products like vintage puzzles.

This is due to the wide variety of products available on Amazon, and also the policies set by that site disallow any illegal activity, such as scamming or delivering the wrong product to take place.


This was just a condensed guide that highlighted some ways in which we can determine if a vintage puzzle is a collectible item and what its value is.

In addition to determining the value of the vintage puzzle, we also discussed the factors which can contribute to the pricing of a particular vintage puzzle as well.

These were just some of the factors one needs to take into account, and considering the big picture, luck also plays a part when in the market for a vintage puzzle that fits your piece criteria and price point.

Some people have managed to find very rare vintage puzzles in the clearance aisle of an antique shop and have flipped them for massive profits.

In addition to that, vintage puzzles are a commodity that is in high demand by all collectors as well, and this can be due to many reasons.

Some collectors tend to be interested in vintage puzzles due to sentimental value, or some are simply passionate about collecting rare commodities, due to which they tend to search for the rarest vintage puzzles which are available in the market, be it an antique shop or online selling platforms as well.

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