Catalog Archive
Auction 184, Lot 64

"[Puzzle Map] Outline Map of United States", Milton Bradley Co.

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany, United States Puzzle

Period: 1885 (circa)


Color: Printed Color

22.1 x 15.4 inches
56.1 x 39.1 cm
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This complete, late 19th century double-sided puzzle contains 68 pieces. The recto shows a map of the United States and extends to include southern Canada, northern Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas. The map is a colored lithograph showing rivers, basic topography, state capitals and major cities. Circa date is based upon the appearance of Colorado as a state (1876) and Dakota Territory (broken into two states in 1889). The puzzle pieces are cut to state and territorial boundaries - an uncommon practice at this early time. The verso contains illustrations of animals, birds, plants, a rattlesnake as well as scenes of farming and industry in the United States. The lower right corner of the verso features a stereotypical representation of cotton picking with an overseer on horseback overlooking mostly black pickers. The puzzle is housed in a wooden box with printed title label on the box top.

Milton Bradley established his color lithography shop in 1860 and soon thereafter started making board games. During the Civil War he produced small games that soldiers could easily pack in their knapsacks – considered the first American travel games. By the 1870s the company was producing dozens of different types of games and in 1880 began making jigsaw puzzles. Milton Bradley was an early advocate of the idea of kindergarten and many of the company’s products were educational in nature.


Condition: B+

Puzzle pieces are very good with some minor wear and a few light stains. A tiny section of the New York piece has chipped off with most of New York City missing. The box top has several repaired cracks, a couple of chips, and one side panel is loose. The box base is sturdy and completely intact.

Estimate: $300 - $375

Sold for: $500

Closed on 9/15/2021