Antique Ouija Boards
An antique Ouija board is a flat panel that is reportedly used to communicate with the dead during a séance. Ouija boards are also called “talking boards” and “spirit key boards”.
Marked with the words “yes”, “no”, “goodbye” and “hello”, the letters of the alphabet, various symbols and graphics and the numbers 0 to 9, the Ouija board was invented in 1890 by businessman Elijah Bond. Originally regarded as an innocent board game, it was not until World War I that the Ouija board became explicitly linked to the occult when it was popularised by American Spiritualist Pearl Curran.
History & Description
The Ouija board is a trademark of Hasbro Inc., and the term is often used generically to describe any “talking” board. The game uses a movable indicator called a planchette, which moves around the board spelling a spirit’s message during a séance.
The Ouija board is commonly associated with the occult, demonic possession and many mainstream religious have condemned it as a tool of Satan. Although Ouija believers argue that the Ouija board is evidence of the paranormal and supernatural, it is repeatedly demystified by the scientific community. Ouija boards remain popular among young people.
Guide for collectors
Ouija boards are extremely popular collectors’ items and have been intriguing and fascinating products since they were first sold in 1891. However, antique Ouija boards are uncommon and tend to cost more than other board games.
Locating antique Ouija boards is a difficult task. At present, there are no records of antique Ouija boards being sold at international auction houses, such as Bonhams and Christie’s. Collectors are advised to search online bidding sites, such as eBay, Onlineauction.com or WeBidz.com, or go to flea markets and antique shops.
Generally, antique Ouija boards tend to sell on eBay from $50 to $100, however, examples have sold for over $150 (see below). Prospective collectors can also search for antique Ouija boards via specialised occult dealers, such as Occult-antiquedealers.com.
Collectors should attempt to learn how to identify genuine antique specimens from the contemporary reproductions circulating in the present day market. Not only will this save collectors from embarrassment should the item be re-sold, but will also guarantee that collectors invest in genuine examples.
Wooden antique Ouija boards consistently reach the highest prices. Additionally, Ouija boards that come with their original planchette are also extremely desirable to collectors.
Notable auction sales
On February 8th 2012, a vintage Magic Marvel Ouija board was sold on eBay for $73.34.
On February 4th 2012, a rare antique wood Ouija board, made by J.M. Simmons & Co., Chicago, circa 1900, was old on eBay for $131.55.
On February 5th 2012, a rare antique wood Ouija spiritual board, equipped with its original planchette, was sold on eBay for a realised price of $152.50.
On February 2nd 2012, a vintage “Gypsy Dream” Ouija board, made in the early-twentieth century, sold on eBay for $222.22.
On January 20th 2011, a very rare, extra-large antique Ouija board, made in 1902, realised a price of $499.99 when sold on eBay.