This is a follow-up blog to an earlier post about figuring out values for antique wooden puzzles. If you have not read that post, I suggest reading it first as it will give you some background regarding valuations. In summary, a lot of people are surprised to learn that the “old puzzle” they found in their attic does not hold much monteary value, only sentimental value. Some of the reasons were discussed in the previous post, but it comes to down to, like much in the collectibles market, just because something is old does not mean it has monetary value.
Puzzles, just like cars, houses or any other tangibile property, condition is a vital part of what determines the value of an object. When it comes to vintage, collectible or antique wooden puzzles, there are many things that need to be looked at. Here are some of the more common issues we see from puzzles we receive, and make an impact on what would be able to offer on a purchase:
1) Overall Condition
Is the image still bright or has there been fading?
Does the box or pieces have watermarks or other condition issues?
Is there writing on the box?
2) The Pieces
Are there missing pieces?
Are there knobs broken or missing? Knobs are the little bits that connect 2 pieces.
For puzzles such as Par, are there bits of the layered wood missing?
Is there uplifting of the image from the wood? (e.g. glue has separated and the image is starting to peel off)
Are there chips?
Are there bitemarks? Yes, we have received several pieces that have been chewed!
How worn are the pieces? Some puzzles that have been done many times are not snug when assembled due to wear and tear.
3) The Box
Is the box complete?
Has it been heavily taped or had other “repairs” done?
Does it have writing on it?
Are the labels complete and in good condition?
How are the corners, are they torn or falling apart?
Is there fading or discoloration?
Each puzzle is unique and factors such as rarity and age do come into play when evaluating puzzles, but from a high-level this should give you a good idea of some of the more common issues that older or antique wood puzzles have.