19th century magnetic fishing game comprised of game board meant to be the surface of the water, with chromolithographed decoration of water fowl and fishing boats, the surface with a number of slots to be "fished" out of; a group of wooden fishing rods, four with original magnets to serve as fishhooks; and an additional smaller interior box labeled "Pêche Miraculeuse", also with chromolithographed illustration, containing six "fishing license" cards, a number of stiff cardboard tokens in a small fabric bag, 14 chromolithographed fish worth different numbers of points, and 11 additional chromolithographed "decoy" items to be fished, including an umbrella, a frog, old boots, and lobsters. Small folio. Game housed in original wood and cardboard box with decorative paper covering and chromolithographed illustration to lid depicting a lively waterfront scene with boys in fishing boats. Printed rules in French affixed to underside of box lid. Box approximately 14-1/4 x 17-3/8 x 4-3/4 inches. Overall good condition, several of the fishing rods missing original magnets, some soiling and fading to decorative paper, some foxing and toning to game board, box lid professionally repaired. N.p. (Paris?, France) n.d. (circa 1860-1870).
A printed label affixed to the underside of the box lid gives instructions for how to play this fishing game, a popular style of game for both children and adults since the 19th century. The rules explain that one player not taking the role of a fisherman or fisherwoman sets up the fish and decoys without the players seeing, placing them in the slots on the board so that only the metal rings are visible. Play goes in order of the number on each player's fishing license. If a player successfully catches a fish, they get the points indicated on the fish. If they catch something else, they pay a penalty in tokens, ranging from 3 tokens all the way up to 6 tokens for the crayfish or lobster, because they are "dangerous to the fingers". Play continues until all fish and objects have been caught, and the player with the highest point total wins two-thirds of the "bank", with the second-place finisher getting the other third. A fantastic edition of a popular 19th century game.
Book ID: 50044