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Circa 1890 Litographed Boxing Game

Circa 1890 Litographed Boxing Game

Rockem Sockem robots, old British style.The British have a way of making even the most mundane or brutal somehow classier. Maybe it’s the accent or maybe the way they carry themselves. Even boxing seems somehow less violent when done up British style. This is something you have never seen before. It is that singular an item. It’s a game manufactured in England around 1890, contained in a box (11-5/8 X 7-7/8”), much like one you might keep your shoes in. The lid reads “The Marvellous Automatic Champion Prize-Fighters” on the bottom third. The rest of the lid shows British gentlemen in a field, hovering around the ropes of a ring. Everyone is dressed to the nines, except for the trainer whose sleeves are rolled up, towel draped over one of his arms, as he stares in at what must be his fighter engaged in pitched battle. At the center, the referee eyes the proceedings carefully. The lithography is outstanding. Inside the lid, the original sticker, reading “Patent Automatic Toy Made in England.” When you look inside the box you’ll see the fighters in the ring in a 3-dimensional setting. They wear sashes around their waists, the then equivalent of championship belts. Into each fighter you can thread a rubber hose with an oval ball at the other end. By squeezing this ball you could make them swing their arms and hit each other. Ring posts and thin rope surround the combatants who stand on a wood base. In the background, the same lithography as on the lid, but another layer is in front of the well dressed men from the lid that shows you them below the waist, creating a closer to reality picture of the proceedings. Everything here is original and we’ve never seen another one, so it truly is one of a kind.

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