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J. W. Spear and Sons was an important manufacturer of (board) games during the 20th century. The firm was registered in 1879 in F├╝rth, Germany and made products such as waste-paper baskets, table mats and photo frames.

By the turn of the century however, games had become the main product and output gradually expanded until Spears became one of the best-known international manufacturers of games and children's activity kits, employing up to 600 people.

Jacob Wolf Spier was born on the 23rd of April 1832 in Germany. His parents were Jewish and worked as soap makers. His mother died when he was four years old so he was brought up by his father. At the age of 20 Spier emigrated to America, along with many others who left their native Germany during this period. In 1857 he married the German born Sophie Rindskodft. Jacob and Sophie Spier were granted American citizenship in 1860 and changed their name to Spear which was more recognised than Spier. They had the first two of their ten children, Ralph and Joseph, that same year.

The Spear family moved back to Germany in November 1861 due to the outbreak of the American Civil. In 1869 Spear moved his family to Sonneberg an area know for toy manufacturing. He joined the firm C. Harwig & Son as a partner. The company was founded in 1825 and had grown over the years. By 1865 it had broadened its range to include goods such as dominoes, money boxes, cribbage, board and racing games.

In 1932 they set up a factory in Britain and with rise to power of the Nazis and the Spear family being Jewish, production was gradually moved to Britain. The Nuremberg factory survived most of World War II under Nazi control until the Royal Air Force bombed it. In 1872 the company was registered under a new name Harwig, Spear & Bergmann. At the time this was seen as a very unlikely partnership as Harwig was a Protestant, Spear was Jewish and Bergmann was a catholic. The new company produced paint boxes, money boxes and games which sold in England, France and Germany.

In 1953 J. W. Spear & Sons launched the popular game Scrabble in the UK. J. W. Spear & Sons acquired the rights to sell the game in other countries excluding the USA and Canada in 1968. The UK factory switched to military production during the war and then returned to making games. In 1954 the company acquired the rights to produce and market Scrabble for markets outside North America. As well as board games they made the Brickplayer construction toy.

The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1966 and was taken over by Mattel in 1994 after a bidding war with Hasbro. Mattel closed the UK factory and while it still produces Scrabble, most of the traditional Spear's Games are no longer made.

Spears Game value

What's it worth? Take a look at this Spears Game price guide: sold listings for a value indication.

Spears Game forum (14 comments)

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Sherri - April 3, 2017

I am looking for the Derby Horse Race by Spears its electronic, lot's of videos on internet but no suggestions on where to purchase???
►reply: Not all sellers mention Spears in their listings. Also some games were produced under license. Try this link Derby horse race to see if you can find one.

Carol - March 14, 2017

I am trying to find out the age of a vintage domino game called "The Game of Dominino" made by Spear's Game of Great Britain and Canada. Can't find any matching pictures of it by web searching.
►reply: Hi Carol, I might have found the game you have on this website.

Jean - March 8, 2017

I am looking for a 1970's complete scrabble game with the wooden tiles can anyone help please?
►reply: Hi there, you can try this page: Vintage scrabble

Maria - December 13, 2016

My favourite game growing up was called Hexagon and was by spears game. I believe the game was recreated in another name when the company was bought. Does anyone know what it's called please? Thanks!

Susan Wade - October 17, 2016

I am looking for The Hamburger Game please, any idea?
►reply: Did you try searching hamburger game?

Ray Van Couvering - August 4, 2016

At about 1909 J W Spears and Sons made a game they called "Star Board", it was early Chinese Checkers. Did they patent it? What can you tell me about it?

Jen Ineson - September 4, 2015

I have a Spears game from around late eighties, called Teddy Bears Games Box. It was created by Gyles Brandreth and has a double sided board for playing two different games using little stand up flock covered teddy bears. The game is complete with all the pieces but has lost the instructions. Does anybody have the rules for these games?

Anthony Whitehead - May 25, 2015

Have you any instructions for Number Rumba we have acquired this game without any instructions. he instructions sent by email would ideal, the Spears game is No.44810 Regards Tony.
►reply: Can't find it either. Maybe you can contact the designer of the game: Theora Design.

Desree - May 10, 2015

I am looking for hoodwinked game please
►reply: Can't find one right now, but search regularly on this site for: hoodwinked game maybe someday one will pop up.

Anne Mckeown - October 17, 2013

I was wondering if it would be possible to purchase the game Number Rumba,my daughter has asked for it for christmasi await your replythanksanne
►reply: I will look but I am afraid it will be difficult since it's a game from 1992.

Avis - January 24, 2013

I have a "Spear's Nursery Rhymes Papercraft" game and would like to know the value of it. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you.
►reply: I am sorry, I don't know. It's from the 2nd half of the 1960s. Maybe you could compare value of other Nursery Spear games or similar games from the same era.

Cory - January 23, 2013

I found a game called "Neck and Neck" Spear's Mechanical Racing Game. I have no clue what year it was made as nothing on the box states it. It has small metal horses and a board with wooden frame. Don't even know what it is worth today. Anyone know?

Sandra White - July 16, 2012

i am looking for spears go fetch it if anyone could tell me where i can purchase this game spears bought this game out in the 1970s iv tried ebay and also amazon

Stuart - November 28, 2010

I am looking for a board game named Hoodwinked made in 1994 by Spears games and would love to purchase this board game. This game bring's back so many childhood memory's with so much family fun and ive been trying to obtain one as i know my family will enjoy this amazing game. Please help me if you can.