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Suffragette board game sale smashes estimated value

A Suffragette board game found in Stratford has sold at auction for six times the estimated value.

Despite being incomplete the board game sold for £620 – original estimated £100 – at the Hansons Auctioneers, Derbyshire, on Tuesday, 27th March.

The previous owner of the game who is from Stratford, said: “We’re thrilled and amazed. I very nearly threw the game in the bin but then thought about the Suffragettes anniversary and decided to get it valued.”

The game discovery, in February, coincided with the 100th anniversary of when some British women won the right to vote in 1918.

The owner, who declined to be named, also added: “It only came to light because we are moving house after 32 years. It originally came from my husband’s family home in Birmingham and had been in the loft for years. We think it may have belonged to two of his maiden aunts who were school teachers.”

The dice game called Pank-a-Squith was named after Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British Suffragette movement, and her adversary, British prime minister from 1908-1916 Herbert Asquith.

He advocated denying women the right to vote. As a result, his house became a target of the British Suffragette movement’s mass window-breaking campaign in the early 20th century. Despite the views of Asquith, the Representation of the People Act 1918 finally gave women over 30 the right to vote. In 1928, all British women aged over 21 were granted the right to vote.

Jon Keightley, a valuer for Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Pank-a-Squith was made to entertain supporters of the Suffragette Movement while raising funds for them and promoting their cause. It is essentially a glorified version of snakes and ladders where Suffragette figures have to negotiate the board while avoiding arrest.”

There are six Suffragette figures in the game and, depending on what square your suffragette figure falls on, you follow instructions such as: ‘Dodges the police and must go back to her home on square number 1’.

Mr Keightley added: “Objects like this show how advanced the Suffragette movement was in terms of making merchandise to back their cause.”

The Suffragette movement produced toys and games to popularise its ideas and activities. The Pank-a-Squith board game was first advertised in Votes for Women on 22nd October, 1909.

It was distributed and sold through a network of high street shops run by the Women’s Social and Political Union.

He added: “The game isn’t complete as it is lacking the board. It dates back to around 1909 and is probably German.”

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