Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When the Galapagos Islands Exported Turtles

After visiting a museum exhibit of antique toys, I realized vintage board games make for charming art. Then, for $6, I found this 1950 Cargoes game at GasLamp Antique Mall in Nashville. Cargoes was made by Selchow and Richter, a 19th-century game manufacturer from Bay Shore, New York, a firm best known for creating
 the games Parcheesi and Scrabble. 
The Cargoes box top exhibits stark mid-century modern graphics. But it is the board itself I plan to frame. The colors are vivid, and, naturally, there is a sea monster swimming in the lower left-hand corner. 
It is, after all, a board game, so it also has cute playing cards. In a fashion similar to Monopoly, winning Cargoes involves the acquisition of property. But the property, cargo, involves what was popularly shipped along international trade routes of the 1950s. Some of it is quaintly outdated. For example, ivory is no longer the primary export of Lagos, and the Galapagos Islands probably aren't shipping out too many turtles these days. But olive oil from Naples? Send some my way. 
To get an idea of how vintage boards
games can look as art, here's an antique Steeplechase game in a frame. 


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