Every once in a while I find a vintage puzzle at the thrift store. Recently, this was on a shelf, mixed in with modern puzzles and board games. The puzzle is from 1951, made of heavy paperboard, and is a Perfect Picture Puzzle. The title is Breaking It Up, #15W. The print is from a painting by Arnold Friberg and depicts a cow run amok around the chuck wagon. Coffee pots and rolling pins are flying as the cow tears through camp, perhaps to rescue the calf next to the horses. Arnold Friberg is the artist who brought us The Prayer At Valley Forge, painted in 1976, of George Washington praying in the snow beside his horse.
Beginning in the 1930s, inexpensive jigsaw puzzles came into favor as entertainment. People were impoverished by the Great Depression and could afford little in the way of luxuries. Hundreds of paperboard puzzles were produced and sold at newstands, usually a new one every week. The puzzle mania began around Boston and spread across America and Canada. Consolidated Paper Box Company, makers of Perfect Picture Puzzles, was one of the biggest manufacturers. The fad lasted into the 1960s when tvs became common.
Many of the puzzles have disappeared over the years, as often happens with ephemera. Pieces are lost or become damaged and the puzzle is thrown out. Today people collect these bits of history, a reminder of simpler times when a new weekly jigsaw was something to look forward to.
This particular puzzle is complete and cut in the old-fashioned manner with many oddly shaped pieces that do not interlock very well. The color is not great, but I believe it is pretty much as it was when produced. Because so many were made, they were done cheaply. The copyright date for the puzzle is 12/26/1951. The pieces are in excellent shape with no damage. The box has some wear, still, it is very nice for this sort of item and age.
I have sold such puzzles for about $10-$20 each. Being complete and quite rare, I expect this puzzle to reach the higher end of the price range. Not bad for a ninety cent investment.