Board games have been popular with both rich and poor for a very, very long time. After all, senet is known to have existed in Predynastic Egypt, meaning the period before the Pharaoh Narmer united Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt at around 3,100 BC. Regardless, seeing as how board games were so popular and remain so popular with such a wide range of people, it should come as no surprise to learn that some examples have been much more valuable than others. In fact, the prices of some board games can be so high that they can be unbelievable to those who are not familiar with them.
Here are five of the most expensive board games ever made:
5. Royal Diamond Chess Set – $600,000
Created in 2004, the Royal Diamond Chess Set from Charles Hollander represents a huge investment of various resources. For example, each of its pieces is made using 14-carat white gold, which is gold alloyed with a white metal to provide the resulting product with characteristics that can’t be found in pure gold. Furthermore, the set includes close to 9,900 black and white diamonds, which have a combined carat of 186. On top of this, it should be mentioned that the Royal Diamond Chess set could not have been created without the labor of master craftsmen, which was measured at a total of 4,500 hours divided up among 30 separate individuals. Combined, it is no wonder that the Royal Diamond Chess Set has a value of $600,000.
4. Art of War Chess Set – $1 Million
Chess is a recent introduction to China in relative terms. Before it, the Chinese played xiangqi, which is considered to be a relative of chess because of their shared origins, as well as weiqi, which might be more familiar to westerns under the later Japanese name of go. Still, there can be no doubt about the fact that Victor F. Scharstein’s Art of War Chess set takes inspiration from Chinese culture, as shown by its Chinese inscriptions as well as the clear Chinese look of its pieces. Made using gold that has been decorated using precious gemstones, the pieces combine with the ebony board standing on feet of further precious metals to produce an approximate value of $1 million.
3. Gold Monopoly Set – $2 Million
Monopoly has something of a reputation for being terrible. This is because its setup means that the player in the lead has a much easier time than other players, which combines with its reliance on random chance to produce an exercise in frustration. In spite of this, Monopoly has seen countless versions released over the course of its existence, though none of them can compare in price to a Gold Monopoly Set that was created by the jeweler Sidney Mobell when Parker Brothers commissioned him. Suffice to say that the set is made using a combination of 18-karat gold and gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, which explains why the set is estimated to be worth $2 million.
2. Charles Hollander Backgammon Set – $5 Million
Backgammon is another board game that has existed for a long, long time. In fact, it is believed that it came into existence close to five millennium ago, which is a record that few board games can even hope to match. With that said, it is difficult to imagine that there were a lot of backgammon sets that can match this creation from Bernard Maquin working for Charles Hollander, which is estimated to have a value of $5 million. In significant part, this is because of the gold, the silver, and the more than 60,000 black, white, and yellow diamonds that went into its creation.
1. Jewel Royale Chess Set – $9.8 Million
At $9.8 million, a chess set produced for Jewel Royale is the single most expensive board game set that can be found in the entire world. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering that its components are made out of pure gold and platinum that have received lavish ornamentation with rubies, emeralds, pearls, and a wide range of other gemstones. With that said, it is curious to note that the pieces of the set have very distinctive looks consisting of jeweled spirals that rise up to support a simple carving that represents its nature, which ranges from a crown for a king to a pearl for a pawn. However, while this produces a rather airy look, each piece is no lightweight because of the sheer weight of its materials.