How to Value Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles

Did you know that the Puzzle Maker Ravensburger sold over 28 million puzzles worldwide in 2020? Puzzles are a great way to pass the time and have many other benefits as well.

That's why it's no secret that jigsaw puzzles are enjoying a resurgence in popularity lately. With people stuck at home and looking for ways to pass the time, many have turned to this classic form of entertainment.

But did you know that some jigsaw puzzles can be quite valuable? That's right, there is a thriving market for vintage jigsaw puzzles, with some fetching high prices.

Keep reading, and in this blog post, we will explore how to value vintage jigsaw puzzles. We'll look at factors like age, condition, brand, and more. So whether you're looking to buy or sell, read on for everything you need to know about the value of vintage jigsaw puzzles.

Table of contents


The History of Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles were first created in the 1760s by English mapmaker John Spilsbury. He glued a map onto a wooden board and then cut it into small pieces with a saw. Spilsbury's puzzles were intended to help children learn geography, but they quickly became popular among adults as well.

The first puzzle had just 24 pieces and was called "Dissected Maps."

In the early 1800s, jigsaw puzzles became popular entertainment for adults. They were often made by hand, with each piece getting cut individually. These puzzles were often very difficult, as there was no standard size or shape for the pieces.

Since their inception, jigsaw puzzles have been enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. They are a great way to relax and unwind while also providing a fun challenge.

However, puzzles really grew in popularity during the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a time of hardship for many people in the United States. Money was tight, and jobs were scarce.

But despite the difficult times, people still found ways to have fun. One popular activity was putting together jigsaw puzzles.

Puzzles were also a way for families to bond and spend time together. With so much free time on their hands, people had the opportunity to really think about and solve the puzzle at hand. Jigsaw puzzles during the Great Depression brought people together and gave them something to focus on other than their troubles.

Today, there are all sorts of jigsaw puzzles available, from simple children's puzzles to complex 1000-piece adult puzzles. There were a few things that made the mass production of puzzles a possibility.

Lithographic Printing Techniques

The ability to mass-produce jigsaw puzzles was made possible by the development of lithographic printing techniques in the early 1800s. Lithography is a printing process that uses a stone or metal plate to transfer an image onto paper. This process allowed for the mass production of puzzles without losing any quality in the image.

Puzzle Cutting Machines

Another important development that led to the mass production of jigsaw puzzles was the invention of puzzle-cutting machines, like the Treadle jigsaw, in the late 1800s. These machines allowed manufacturers to cut puzzles much more quickly and accurately than before.

The first puzzle-cutting machine was invented in 1887 and could cut around 48 pieces a minute.


Plywood was also invented in the late 1800s and quickly became the material of choice for jigsaw puzzles. Plywood gets made by gluing together thin layers of wood, which makes it strong and lightweight. It is also easy to cut into shapes, which made it perfect for mass-producing jigsaw puzzles.

Puzzle Die Stamping

Puzzle die stamping is a process that was developed in the early 1900s that allows manufacturers to mass-produce puzzles with intricate shapes. In this process, a metal die gets used to stamp out the pieces from a sheet of cardboard.

This process allowed manufacturers to create puzzles with complex shapes and patterns, which made them more challenging and interesting for people to solve.

Puzzle die stamping is still used today to mass-produce jigsaw puzzles.

What Is a Vintage Jigsaw Puzzle?

A vintage jigsaw puzzle is a puzzle that was manufactured at least 20 years ago. While there is no definitive answer as to what makes a puzzle considered vintage, most experts agree that puzzles from the early 1900s are some of the earliest examples of vintage jigsaw puzzles.

One of the main reasons why people collect vintage jigsaw puzzles is because of their unique designs and artwork. Many vintage puzzles were created by hand, meaning each one is slightly different from the next. This makes them highly sought-after by collectors who appreciate the craftsmanship that went into their creation.

Another reason why vintage jigsaw puzzles are so valuable is that they offer a glimpse into history. These puzzles provide a way to connect with the past and learn about different cultures and eras. For many people, collecting vintage jigsaw puzzles is a passion that allows them to travel back in time and explore different parts of the world without ever leaving their homes.

How to Date Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles?

To date vintage jigsaw puzzles, you'll need to examine the puzzle's box for any identifying characteristics. If the puzzle is in its original box, look for a copyright date or manufacturer's logo.

You can also check for old-style graphics or print on the box. If you don't find any dates on the box, you can try looking up the puzzle's manufacturer online.

Once you have a general idea of when the puzzle was manufactured, you can start to narrow down its age by looking at specific features of the puzzle pieces themselves. For example, older puzzles tend to have thicker pieces with beveled edges. They may also have "hand-cut" looking pieces, as opposed to the more uniform shapes found in newer puzzles.

If you're still having trouble dating your vintage jigsaw puzzle, consider consulting an expert or taking it to a local antique shop for further evaluation.

How to Determine the Value of a Vintage Jigsaw Puzzle?

If you have a vintage jigsaw puzzle, how do you determine what it's worth? There are a few different ways that you can determine the value of a vintage jigsaw puzzle.

Look at the Condition of the Puzzle

One of the most important things to consider when determining the value of a vintage jigsaw puzzle is its condition. If the puzzle is in excellent condition, it will be worth more than a puzzle that is in poor condition.

Look for any missing pieces and make sure that all of the pieces get accounted for. If there are any damaged pieces, this will also affect the value of the puzzle.

Consider the Age of the Puzzle

Another important factor to consider when determining the value of a vintage jigsaw puzzle is its age. Older puzzles will be worth more than newer puzzles. In general, a vintage puzzle that is more than 50 years old will be worth more than a newer puzzle.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if a vintage puzzle is rare or has historical significance, it may be worth more than a newer puzzle, even if it is not as old.

Look at the Manufacturer of the Puzzle

The manufacturer of a vintage jigsaw puzzle can also affect its value. Some manufacturers are more collectible than others. For example, puzzles made by companies such as Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley are usually more valuable than puzzles made by other companies.

Consider the Number of Pieces in the Puzzle

The number of pieces in a vintage jigsaw puzzle can also affect its value. In general, the more pieces a puzzle has, the more valuable it will be. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

For example, if a puzzle is rare or has historical significance, it may be worth more than a puzzle with more pieces, even if it has fewer pieces.

Research the Value of Similar Puzzles

One of the best ways to determine the value of a vintage jigsaw puzzle is to research the value of similar puzzles. You can do this by searching online or by consulting with an expert.

If you are searching online, try to find other puzzles that are similar in age, condition, manufacturer, and the number of pieces. Once you have found some comparable puzzles, you can use this information to get an idea of what your puzzle is worth.

If you are unable to find any comparable puzzles, you can consult with an expert, such as an antique dealer or auctioneer. They will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the value of your puzzles.

What Are the Most Valuable Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles?

With the mass production of puzzles beginning in the 1800s, how do you know if you have a valuable vintage jigsaw puzzle? There are some big brand names that many jigsaw puzzle collectors watch for.

Arteno Puzzles

Arteno puzzles use intricate, hand-cut pieces. This brand might not be well-known; however, it produced beautiful puzzles.

They were characterized by their use of high-quality wood and intricate interlocking pieces. Arteno puzzles are some of the most valuable vintage jigsaw puzzles, with some pieces selling for hundreds of dollars.

Parker Brothers Puzzles

Parker Brothers were one of the early companies to produce jigsaw puzzles on a large scale. They began production in the 1800s, marketing their first jigsaw puzzle in 1887. They were known for their use of high-quality materials.

Parker Brother's puzzles are some of the most sought-after by collectors. They can be valuable, with some selling for thousands of dollars.

One of their most popular lines was the Pastime Puzzles line. This line began getting produced in 1908.

Milton Bradley Puzzles

Milton Bradley was another early producer of jigsaw puzzles. They began production in the late 1860s and were known for their use of thick, sturdy cardboard.

Milton Bradley puzzles are also highly sought-after by collectors. They can be valuable, with some selling for thousands of dollars. Their Premier Line is known for valuable puzzles.

Madmar Puzzles

Madmar puzzles are another type of valuable vintage jigsaw puzzle. They were produced from 1920 to 1960 in Utica, New York, and were characterized by their use of thin, delicate pieces.

Madmar puzzles can be valuable, with some selling for hundreds of dollars.

Raphael Tuck and Sons Ltd. Puzzles

Raphael Tuck and Sons Ltd. was a British company that began producing jigsaw puzzles in the 1900s. They were known for their use of high-quality materials and intricate designs.

One of their most popular lines is their Zag-Zaw brand. This brand used scalloped edges on the puzzles to make them even more difficult.

Raphael Tuck and Sons Ltd. puzzles are highly sought-after by collectors. They can be valuable, with some selling for thousands of dollars.

James Browning Puzzles

James Browning puzzles are another valuable vintage jigsaw puzzle. His popular U-Nit puzzles were produced during the Great Depression starting in 1932. These puzzles were characterized by their use of interlocking pieces.

He began creating these puzzles as a way to pass his time and supplement his income so he could support his family. James Browning puzzles can be valuable, with some selling for hundreds of dollars.

PAR Puzzles

PAR Puzzles create high-end puzzles that are hand-cut. The company began creating puzzles in 1932. These puzzles, like the James Browning puzzles, were created during the depression.

The company was started by John Henriques and Frank Ware. They were fascinated by the idea of creating interlocking wooden jigsaw puzzles for the rich and famous.

When visitors would stay at the Hearst Castle in California, they would put together a PAR puzzle.

Where to Find Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles?

Are you on the hunt for vintage jigsaw puzzles? They're not as difficult to find as you might think. However, make sure you know what to look for before you buy.

When looking for vintage jigsaw puzzles, it's important to keep in mind that condition is key. A puzzle that's missing pieces or has been put together and taken apart multiple times is not going to be as valuable as a puzzle that's in pristine condition.

Also, rarer puzzles will be worth more than mass-produced ones. So, if you come across a unique puzzle with an interesting design, it's likely to be worth more than a boring old puzzle from the 1970s.

To get an idea of how much a vintage jigsaw puzzle is worth, try doing some research online. There are a few ways to find vintage jigsaw puzzles.

Online Retailers

One way to find vintage jigsaw puzzles is to check online retailers. Websites like Etsy and eBay are great places to start your search.

You can also do a general search on Google or another search engine. Just be sure to include the word "vintage" in your search.

Auction Houses

Another option is to check auction houses. They sometimes have vintage jigsaw puzzles for sale. This is a great way to find high-quality puzzles that are in excellent condition.

Antique Stores

If you have any local antique stores, they might also have vintage jigsaw puzzles for sale. It's always worth checking out these types of stores if you're looking for something specific.

Garage Sales

You can also check garage sales and flea markets. These are great places to find vintage jigsaw puzzles that are being sold for a fraction of the price. You never know what you might find!

Thrift Stores

Occasionally, you can find treasures in thrift stores. This is often the case when someone didn't know that the puzzle they donated has some value.

This makes thrift stores a great place to hunt for vintage puzzles at. They usually have a wide variety of items for sale, so you might be able to find a vintage jigsaw puzzle that you're looking for.

Attend Antique Shows and Auctions

Another great way to find vintage jigsaw puzzles is to attend antique shows and auctions. You may be able to find some rare and valuable items at these events.

Estate Sales

If you're willing to dig through a lot of stuff, estate sales can be great places to find vintage jigsaw puzzles. You never know what you might find!

Online Auctions and Forums

There are a variety of online auctions and forums dedicated to vintage toys and games. These can be great resources for finding vintage jigsaw puzzles.

Tips for Collecting Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles

If you're a fan of jigsaw puzzles, you might have a significant interest in collecting vintage puzzles. These are just a few tips to help you get started in collecting vintage jigsaw puzzles. With a little patience and effort, you can build an impressive collection that you'll enjoy for years to come.

Do Your Research

Before you start buying vintage jigsaw puzzles, it's important to do your research. This way, you'll know what to look for and what to avoid. Read books and articles about collecting vintage jigsaw puzzles, and visit online forums and websites dedicated to the hobby.

Inspect the Condition of the Puzzle

When you're looking at a vintage jigsaw puzzle, it's important to inspect the condition carefully. Check for missing pieces, tears, and water damage. Avoid puzzles that are in poor condition, as they will be more difficult to complete and don't hold as much value.

Ask About the Puzzle's History

If you're considering buying a vintage jigsaw puzzle, it's always a good idea to ask about its history. Find out how old the puzzle is and who the previous owner was. This information can help you determine the value of the puzzle.

Look for Rare and Unusual Puzzles

One of the best things about collecting vintage jigsaw puzzles is that you can find some rare and unusual puzzles. Keep your eyes peeled for unique themes, interesting artwork, and hard-to-find pieces. These puzzles are often more valuable and can be more fun to put together.

Check for Signatures or Other Markings

When you're inspecting a vintage jigsaw puzzle, be sure to check for any signatures or other markings. Some puzzles are signed by the artist or the manufacturer, and these can add to the value of the puzzle. Other markings, such as dates or codes, can also be helpful in determining the age and history of a puzzle.

Set a Budget

Before you start shopping for vintage jigsaw puzzles, it's important to set a budget. Decide how much you're willing to spend on each puzzle, and stick to your budget. This way, you won't overspend on your new hobby.

Get an Appraisal

If you have a puzzle that you think may be valuable, it's a good idea to get it appraised by a professional. This will help you determine its value and whether or not it's worth selling.

Join a Puzzle Club

Joining a puzzle club is a great way to meet other collectors and learn more about the hobby. There are clubs all over the world, so you should be able to find one in your area.

How to Keep Your Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles in Good Condition

If you have a Vintage Jigsaw Puzzle keeping it in good condition can help it maintain its value. There are several things you can do to help keep your puzzles in excellent condition.

Store Your Puzzles Properly

To keep your vintage jigsaw puzzles in good condition, it is important to store them properly. Jigsaw puzzles should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. A closet or drawer is ideal. If you must store your puzzles in boxes, use acid-free cardboard boxes or plastic containers.

To prevent your puzzles from becoming dusty, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper before storing them. If you are going to stack your puzzles, place a layer of acid-free tissue paper between each puzzle.

Be Cautious Putting Your Puzzle Together

When you are ready to work on a puzzle, lay down a clean sheet of paper or an old tablecloth to protect your work surface. Jigsaw puzzles can be fragile, so handle them with care.

Remember that puzzles that are played with more often lose value.

If a piece is damaged, don't try to repair it with glue or tape. Instead, replace the piece with one from another puzzle or purchase a replacement piece from the manufacturer.

Don't Forget About the Box

The box that your puzzle came in is just as important as the puzzle itself. If the box is damaged, it will decrease the value of your puzzle.

Store your puzzle in its original box whenever possible. If you must use another box, make sure it is acid-free.

How to Sell Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles

Vintage jigsaw puzzles can be a great addition to any game collection, and they can also be a fun way to make some extra money.

If you have a collection of vintage jigsaw puzzles that you no longer want, you may be able to sell them for a profit. Here are some tips on how to sell vintage jigsaw puzzles.

Do Your Research

Before you start trying to sell your puzzles, it's important to do some research and find out what similar puzzles are selling for. This will help you price your puzzles competitively and increase the chances that they will sell.

The best place to research puzzle prices is on online auction sites like eBay. You can conduct a search and then scroll through the results to get an idea of what people are selling similar puzzles for.

Choose the Right Platform

There are a variety of different platforms where you can sell vintage jigsaw puzzles, including online auction sites, online marketplaces, and brick-and-mortar stores. Choose the platform that makes the most sense for your particular puzzle collection and where you think you'll be able to get the best prices for your puzzles.

Take Good Photos

 Once you've decided where you're going to sell your puzzles, it's time to take some high-quality photos of them. This is important because potential buyers will want to see what they're buying before they commit to a purchase.

The best way to take photos of puzzles is to lay them out on a flat surface and use natural lighting. Make sure the surface is clean and free of any clutter. If you have a digital camera, use the highest resolution setting.

It's also a good idea to take multiple photos of each puzzle from different angles. This will give buyers a better idea of what the puzzle looks like and how it's put together.

Finally, make sure to upload the photos to your computer so you can edit them if needed. Editing photos is a great way to make your puzzles look their best before you list them for sale.

Pricing Your Puzzles

Once you've taken some great photos of your puzzles, it's time to start thinking about pricing. When pricing puzzles, you'll want to consider the following factors:

  • The size of the puzzle
  • The brand/manufacturer
  • The condition of the puzzle
  • The difficulty level
  • How unique the puzzle is

When you're ready to price your puzzles, start by listing them at a fair price but a higher price. You can always lower the price later if necessary. It's better to start high and go low than to start low and go high.

Be Patient

Selling vintage jigsaw puzzles can take time, so it's important to be patient when listing them for sale. Don't get discouraged if your Puzzles don't sell right away.

In addition, be sure to keep an eye on the market so you can adjust your prices as needed. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to find buyers for your vintage jigsaw puzzles!

Packaging and Shipping Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles

Packaging and shipping vintage jigsaw puzzles can be a bit challenging, but with a little care and attention to detail, it can be done successfully. Here are some tips on how to package and ship vintage jigsaw puzzles:

Use Clean and Sturdy Packaging Materials

When packaging vintage jigsaw puzzles for shipping, it is important to use clean and sturdy packaging materials. Old newspapers or magazines can discolor the puzzle pieces and make them difficult to read. It is also important to avoid using plastic bags as they can cause the pieces to stick together.

Use a Puzzle Saver

A puzzle saver is a clear plastic sheet that covers the entire puzzle and prevents the pieces from shifting during shipping. Puzzle savers can be purchased online or at some craft stores. If you cannot find a puzzle saver, you can make your own by covering the puzzle with a piece of clean wax paper or parchment paper.

Pack the Puzzle Pieces Carefully

Once you have covered the puzzle with a puzzle saver, you will need to pack the pieces carefully, so they do not shift during shipping. Start by placing the largest pieces at the bottom of the box.

Fill in any empty spaces with smaller pieces. When packing the box, be sure to leave enough room for padding material such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Seal the Box Securely

Once all of the pieces get packed securely in the box, seal it shut with heavy-duty tape. Be sure to write fragile or "handle with care" on the outside of the box in large letters.

Ship the Box via a Trusted Carrier

When shipping vintage jigsaw puzzles, it is important to use a trusted carrier such as UPS, FedEx, or the US Postal Service. Be sure to insure the shipment and request a tracking number so you can keep an eye on its progress.

Vintage jigsaw puzzles can be a lot of fun to put together, but they can be delicate and require special care when shipping. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your vintage jigsaw puzzles arrive at their destination safely and in one piece.

Check Your Vintage Jigsaw Puzzles Value

Valuing vintage jigsaw puzzles can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With a little research and an understanding of what to look for, you can easily figure out how much your puzzle is worth. The most important thing is to enjoy the process and the challenge of putting together a beautiful puzzle that will last for generations.

Did this article leave you wanting more puzzle facts? Stop being puzzled and learn all the benefits of completing a jigsaw puzzle a day and more by reading our blog.

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