With the recent acquisition of the Philip E. Orbanes Collection, The Strong in Rochester, N.Y.—home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of dolls, toys, and play-related artifacts—now holds the distinction of housing the world’s largest and most comprehensive assemblage of classic Monopoly games.
Orbanes spent more than a decade leading research and development teams at Parker Brothers and is widely recognized as the foremost scholar and author on the subjects of Monopoly and Parker Brothers. Through acquisition of Orbanes’s collection of Monopoly and early Parker Brother games and related archival material, The Strong gains not only rare examples of historic games, but also detailed files related to their manufacture, and Orbanes’s own research and experiences as an industry insider.
Several artifacts from the Philip E. Orbanes collection will be on view in Game Time!, an original exhibit opening April 13 at the National Museum of Play at The Strong. These include one of the first Parker Brothers production Monopoly sets—known to collectors as the “Number 9 Deluxe Edition White Box Set”—and a deluxe Mah-Jongg set.
Other significant landmark games from The Strong’s collection are in the permanent exhibit, Monopoly: An American Icon, including a 1913 John Heap Monopoly set that was a key piece of evidence in a Monopoly copyright dispute; and two hand-made Monopoly sets by Charles Darrow (1933), who is credited with marketing and popularizing the game we have come to know and love.