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Punchboard for Sale

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Decorating Your Gameroom





Collectibility of Punchboards

Many gameroom collectors also collect punchboards. Why?

Maybe it's because they were a from of gambling popular when trade stimulators and slot machines were popular. Maybe it's because many punchboards used slot symbols such as cherries, lemons, bells and bars to indicate winners. Or maybe it's because they are colorful and inexpensive way to decorate your gameroom. Punchboards were popular during the 1930s to 1950 period and were frequently found in candy and cigar stores, cafes, taverns and anywhere else a merchant wanted to make a few extra dollars.

Punchboards were small and would fit on most checkout counters. The player would use a little puncher to punch out a small piece of folded paper from any unused hole to see if it had a winning symbol or number.

For a penny or a nickel, and sometimes a dime or a quarter, the player could win a package of cigarettes, a candy bar, or a dollar prize. A twenty five dollar jackpot was not unusual for a nickel punchboard.

They were the lottery tickets of yesteryear. Merchants liked them because they were immensely profitable. For example, for a $3.71 purchase price for a 5 cent punchboard, a merchant would make an average profit of $55.46.

Punchboard collecting is a never ending hunt, because they were hundreds, if not thousands, of different varieties. They came in different sizes and shapes. They were colorful and can be easily hung on any wall. Best of all, they are relatively inexpensive.

Finding a punchboard used to be a relatively easy task. As recent as five or ten years ago you could find one at every flea market. Now-a-days, they are becomming increasing hard to find. You could look for months and not find one and, if you do, they may already be punched, which eliminates their value as a collectible.

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Ken Durham
Email: durham@GameRoomAntiques.com