Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles from the early 20th century

A partly put-together jigsaw made in the early part of the 20th century.

When I moved to the seaside I gave up selling most antiques but I didn’t give up entirely – I started a website (now closed) selling antique and vintage games and wooden jigsaw puzzles. There were a few other websites selling games but, as far as I know, there were no others selling jigsaws, possibly because you really needed to know if all the pieces were there and the only way to know, for sure, was to put them together. I had plenty of time, being retired. I also had plenty of help as Julian, also retired, is very good at seeing whether pieces will fit together (and I’ve got better with time and practice.)

In the very early part of the 21st century I could buy a whole box full of old jigsaws (sight unseen, of course) for very little money. Going to auctions meant I could buy, say, 25 jigsaws for £100 – £4 each! Some of the puzzles would be only half there, some would be very uninteresting, but some would be incredible! I have photos of some of those I sold in the years up to 2014 when I gave up which I would like to share. They were sold, long ago and I don’t know who I sold them to – I hope they don’t mind my using the photos!

I think my favourite one that I sold is this one:

One of the first and most amusing – came in an anonymous box with no picture or title. Like many jigsaws of the time, this one has pieces that aren’t interlocking.
Another one that I had, early on in my “jigsaw career.” It’s easy to see the pieces in this photo and you can see that the pieces are very unlike most puzzles today.
Another of my early and favourite jigsaws. Full of beautiful items, including the gorgeous table cloth, the glasses and luscious fruits. I think there was only one piece of the large puzzle missing.
Another, very similar, puzzle but with two or three pieces missing.
A gorgeous puzzle that I loved so much I had the photo used on my business cards. Such a shame about that one small piece missing!
And now for something completely different! As with most of the puzzles I bought, this one was completely anonymous. Luckily, it was completely complete, too!
I believe this ‘elephant’ puzzle shows Hannibal transporting his elephants across the Rhone. What a wonderful surprise this anonymous puzzle was!
Another jigsaw of historical events but there was no clue on the box.
The first of two which I think were from adverts about travel.
I just love this jigsaw! The costumes and poses scream ‘30’s” to me. I can just imagine going on a cruise in those far-off days!
This is one I kept. It is obvious to me that the papers for the picture were from a Japanese print. This is one I take out and put together, often.
I bought this one privately, thinking I might start a collection of Japanese print puzzles. This photo is a bit blurry, I’m afraid. I’m not so sure this was a Japanese print, but it could have been.
One more in the oriental style.
Another picture of ‘foreigners! This jigsaw is still upstairs in a rather dilapidated box – but, one with a makers’ label. It was produced by Delta puzzles.

Last week I saw a jigsaw on-line in an auction. It arrived this morning. Here is a photo of the container it is in.

Very little clue here as to the size of the bag and its contents! But, I do have a photo, kindly included by the previous owners.
A photo of the photo. I think I’ll keep this one to do during the Christmas period when we’ll have some time to spare. I’ll update you when we’ve done it!

I hope you will agree with me how interesting and unusual older, wooden jigsaws can be. For more information and a lot more photos, have a look at the site thejigasaurus.com – an interesting and helpful website, exclusively about all things jigsaw! 🤪

About Candy

I am 74, was a teacher, then a dealer in antiques and collectables. When I retired to the seaside I started website selling antique and vintage games and wooden jigsaw puzzles. Now, I'm spending my time blogging, gardening and making oil paintings.
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