A Set of Antique Pachisi or Parcheesi Wooden Tokens, Cloth and Dice.
Offered here is an Antique Game of Pachisi or Parcheesi, with 16 dome-shaped wooden tokens, four each in red, Maple, Black and Natural; two elongated dice or “bones” and an authentic Indian Cross and Circle playing cloth. The squat bullet-shaped tokens measure 1.1′” tall by 1.1″ at the base. Each token is distinguished by the color of the body and colored inserts on their summits. The dice measure 3-1/4″ long by 1/2″ square. Pachisi is likely the precursor to the popular game of Backgammon. Circa 1870.
Pachisi, originated in medieval India. The cross and circle board game design is used for race games played throughout the world. It can be played by 2-4 players, the first player to move all the tokens around the board to the home position wins. One of the main differences between Parcheesi and Pachisi is that Pachisi is played in two teams of two players, each with their own set of tokens, which adds a new level of strategy as each player works to help the partner’s tokens as well.
The first clear claim is a copyright granted to John Hamilton of the Hudson River Valley in 1867. Originally called Pacheesi, the name was changed to Parcheesi a year or so later. Hamilton sold the rights to the game to Albert Swift, a New York goods manufacturer, in 1867 or 1868. Swift, in turn, sold the rights to E.G. Selchow & Co., a New York City game manufacturer in 1870 who trademarked it as Parcheesi in 1874. The company was founded as E.G. Selchow & Co. in 1867. In 1880 it became Selchow & Righter to reflect the partnership with John Righter. Until the 1950s, when the company bought the rights to Scrabble, Parcheesi was their hottest selling game. Parcheesi was America’s best-selling game until the release of Monopoly in 1935 by Parker Brothers. For years now, the North American Rights have been held by Hasbro, Inc.
The game of Pachisi dates back to the 4th century A.D. in India. It is often called the national game of India. Instead of dice, players throw six to seven cowrie shells. The name, Pachisi, comes from the highest number one can throw, twenty-five, or pachis in Hindi. The game headed west in the 1860s, first traveling to England and then further into Europe. In the late 1890s, the English developed a simpler form called Ludo, which was primarily designed for and played by children.
Pachisi is the younger sibling of a game called Chaupar, which was a slightly more complex and highbrow version of the game played by aristocracy. Although the rules are different, it is the ancestor of Parcheesi. Chaupar appears throughout Indian history and culture as well. For example, it received a popularity boost when it was featured in the Mahabharata, one of India’s classic epics believed to have originated between 540 and 300 B.C. In this text, the character Shakuni uses Chaupar to defeat his enemy, Yudhisthira.
How Pachisi came to America from India is unclear and stories are conflicting. Pachisi first appeared in America between 1867 and 1870, where it took on the name of Parcheesi as it is known in the West today. The rights to the game went through several changes of ownership, but they currently reside with Hasbro. As a result, while there are many games today that are similar to Parcheesi, only those sold by Hasbro can use that name. Games produced by any other company often give their products vaguer monikers, such as Milton Bradley’s “The Game of India.”