Private Collections of Games

Games Research Database


Game Collections

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The Spear Collection Family collection of Spears games. Viewable by appointment.
The Ballam Collection A collection of over 1500 games, puzzles and educational toys, mainly Victorian indoor games. Probably the largest such resource in existence. The printed games from this collection are now at the Bodleian Library, Oxford and are being added to the catalogue there.
Thurstons of Liverpool E.A. Clare, the owners of Thurstons have a private museum at their premises featuring an amazing array of Billiards and Snooker equipment going back centuries. Including a hexagonal Billiard table!
The Opie Collection See the entry for the Bodleian Library. The games were not included with the transfer of children’s books
The Hannas Collection Linda Hannas amassed a huge collection of early games in addition to her collection of jigsaw puzzles. On 26/27 July 1984 most were sold at Sotheby's, Bloomfield Place, London. The sale catalogue gives a brief description and a few small pictures. We hope to list these in GARD as a future project.
The Whitehouse Collection We have not discovered the present location of the late Col. Whitehouse’s collection of Board and Table Games, but in his book "Table Games of Georgian and Victorian Days", Peter Garnett Ltd 1951, later edition Priory Press 1971, information is given of all the games of the period 1750-1850 he was able to locate.
Rothschild Collection of French boardgames 1675-1820 Kept at Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury. Several are illustrated in the Introduction to Play the Game by Brian Love, 1978 and 1984
The United States Playing Card Company Collection of English Playing Cards and Card Games A very important collection many from the collection of George Clulow, F.R.G.S., is listed in A History of Playing Cards by Catherine Hargrave, 1930, Dover Edition 1966.
Clulow Collection See The United States Playing Card Company.
The Seville Collection of Goose Games More than 300 examples, many important, all centered around the Royal Game of Goose. The British section of this collection with pictures has been entered into GARD; the whole collection has been published privately on CD and most of the games can be viewed, with many others, on the Gioco Dell Oca website of Dr Luigi Ciompi.

If you know of other significant private collections of games that we should include, please contact us to let us know.