Spear's Games Ltd.

J.W. Spear and Sons was an important manufacturer of (board) games during the 20th century. The firm was registered in 1879 in Fürth, 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.

Updated: 19 Sept. 2019

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Spears Game value and price guide

What's your Spears Game worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
rare 1908 aerial contest airplane game j w spears sons Rare 1908 Aerial Contest Airplane Game J W Spears Sons 09/2021 C $885.07
jolly pirates shooting game 1920 s in original box by Jolly Pirates Shooting Game 1920 S In Original Box By 09/2021 C $379.32
rare numba rumba game 1992 spears games 100 complete Rare Numba Rumba Game 1992 Spears Games 100 Complete 10/2021 C $136.12
rare numba rumba game 1992 spears games 100 complete Rare Numba Rumba Game 1992 Spears Games 100 Complete 11/2021 C $136.12
rare hamburger board game by spears games c 1989 Rare Hamburger Board Game By Spears Games C 1989 10/2021 C $85.00
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices12/2021C $-.--

Spears Game forum

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Comments (62)
Stephen - June 6, 2021
Am looking for a timer from the 1988 Scrabble Game
Hi there, try this page: Scrabble Timer.
Alison - May 2, 2021
Has anyone got three legs for Rummikub tile holders please
Julie - April 12, 2021
Hi, I'm looking for a spears board game Pigs Might Fly.
Unable to find it anywhere, hopefully you may be able to help ? Thanks Julie
Mike - January 27, 2021
Ref J Dec 28, 2018: "Looking for Tops the number game. A tile game not tops the card game. In a pink box." I have this available for sale - it is dated 1965. All 120 tiles are present. Slight damage to the box. I spent many fun hours playing this as a child.
Message forwarded, although it's been a while since they posted their request ;-)
Peter - January 24, 2021
Looking for a spare board for Spears 1953 Electric Contact Quiz game, any idea if such a thing is available?
My one seems to have corroded a bit and doesn't seem to work
I'm afraid you'll have to find one for parts... Maybe here: Spears Contact Quiz.
Philip - December 21, 2020
I'm after a game called compatibility 15 anniversary, can you buy it in the uk?
Sandi - October 9, 2020
Hello everyone, I have the boardgame Just The Job but unfortunately I have lost the instructions. Can anyone help?
Sorry, I can't find the instructions, just some descriptions. Maybe you can contact one of these sellers and ask them if they could send you a copy: Just the Job.
Paul - September 29, 2020
My wife and I have been playing Scrabble on the same board since 1963. The ( 366mm X 188mm ) cardboard box ( with playing rules ) is now beyond further repair. We are looking for a replacement. Paul
Wow, that's a long time! Well done :-) You could have a look here to see if you can find a replacement game for parts and box: Scrabble 1960s.
Valerie - September 8, 2020
We have an elderly deluxe, tile lock low profile turntable Scrabble but seem entirely unable to obtain replacement tiles - can you help. The tiles are three quarter inch but an old set with what looks an identical size doesn’t quite fit! Thanks - I tossed a J back into the bag thinking it was an I!
Sorry, I can't help you with that... Have a look here to see if you can find any: Scrabble Tile Lock.
Sue - August 31, 2020
I have the board and playing pieces for Rail Race Round Britain (1940s/1950s) but unfortunately the instructions have been lost. Would you be able to sell me a copy or, indeed, an original?
Sorry, I don't have any. Usually these instructions were written on the inside of the box, so it will be difficult to obtain a copy. I found a few pics on Google of these boxes with instructions, but the quality was too low.
Margaret - August 7, 2020
Looking for any colored spare pegs for Solitaire game please. Thank you
Check out this page, maybe you can find spare pegs or find an old game for parts: Spears Solitaire.
Maureen - May 27, 2020
Can I buy new pegs for my scrabble de luxe scoring racks?
Not sure... Have a look here, maybe you can find them: Scrabble Pegs Deluxe.
Paul - May 21, 2020
Hello i have recently found a Spears game called The Game of Race to the North. i am struggling to find any information on it and believe it to be pretty old?Many thanks Paul
I can't find anything on it, so sorry. There are only a few pages describing a different version, and not one of Spears.
Amanda-leigh - May 5, 2020
Hi,I've recently unearthed the CD Adventure: Search for the Lost City game board (1994), but it's missing the instruction booklet. Does anybody have a copy them? Thank You.
Sorry, can't help you with that... Maybe you could ask one of the sellers of these listings to send you a copy (maybe for a small fee?): Spears Search for the Lost City.
Nick - April 12, 2020
Has anyone got the rules to Spears Wild Life Game please?
I can't find them, but maybe you can ask one of these sellers through here: Spears Wild Life.
Doris - April 7, 2020
Hi, have Skull Island Adventure but missing the little metal balls and the little grey piece at the end of the start area. Can you help please
I'm afraid you have to search for another set for parts: Spears Skull Island.
Gary - April 5, 2020
Hi I collect vintage toy games and toy pistols and rifles I have a game I purchased which I can't date it's a spears vintage contact quiz game it looks late 40s early 59s just by look on front of box it has the aeroplane pics with I would think the planes from the 1940s any idea also the electrics are missing any idea when I can get bits or spares to repair thanks gary
You'll probably need a second set to replace parts or you can replace the whole set. There are a few on eBay, have a look here: Spears Contact Quiz.
Sue - March 16, 2020
Have anyone got a spare yellow 4 tile from the travel edition of rummikub please? They are small, approx. 2cms by 2.5 cms. Thanks.
Carmel - January 29, 2020
Any one got a spare random letter spinner from ASK ME? please,or where I can buy one? thanks
Is it from Spears? I can't find anything about it. Try this page and see if you can find the game you're looking for: Ask me game.
Lesley - January 2, 2020
I have the boxed game by Spears, PIGS MIGHT FLY with instruction leaflet. The only thing missing is the steel ball. Can anyone advise where I can get the ball? Also willing to sell set.
Sorry, no idea! Maybe you can use something else, like a marble? Or sometimes toy shops have similar balls for sale.
Carol - December 12, 2019
I am looking for a red number eleven tile for travel rummikub can anyone tell me where to get one from please
Try this link, there are some sellers with spare tiles where you can buy just one: Spears Rummikub Tiles.
Laurie - November 26, 2019
Hi, does anybody have the instructions for Spears Multipuzzle'48 fascinating puzzles rolled into 1'? Any help would be much appreciated. Laurie.
Hi, I found this page, hope it helps a bit!
Anne - November 2, 2019
Has anyone got the rules for musical bears. Board game please
Hi there, here are the rules I found: Musical Bears game instructions (pdf). Hope it helps!
Cristine - October 20, 2019
I have a Spears Games: The Game of Dominino. Note spelling. I can't find a thing about it. It has domino tiles on a bar between 2 pegs. They can be spun/flipped over. Wondering if this was a printing error and the game was pulled or repackaged.
Hi there, I found your game, have a look on this webpage.
Nicola - October 18, 2019
Please can you tell me where I can buy a new card or set for Cat's Mansion 1984. Just bought and my dog half ate Persian blue cat "cat" card! Many thanks
I'm afraid you will have to buy another set for spare cards. Maybe you can find a cheap one here: Spears Cat's Mansion.
Christine - October 14, 2019
Looking for rules leaflet for car capers game.
I found the instructions here.
Carmen - September 21, 2019
Do you do the old style monopoly pls? I cant find it anywhere.not hamleys.not harrods.they hv the silly ones like supehroes peppa pig etc but not the old classic style. Thanku
Hi, I don't sell games, but you can check out this page for the classic version: Classic Monopoly.
Lesley - August 20, 2019
I am looking for the instructions for Cashword please.
Sorry, can't find it. I did found some pics from the back of the box with some rules, see also: Spears game Cashword.
Simon - August 18, 2019
please could you tell me what is the battery required for spears game " Electric Contact Quiz I have 2 of them and neither has a battery and are they worth anything please. Many thanks
Hi, I read somewhere that they use a 4.5v flat pocket battery. These are still available. If you want yo know value, have a look here: Spears Contact Quiz.
Willie - August 17, 2019
RE: Estelle's 10 Aug 19 Post I have the Spears "peg-board" travel version. If that's the kind you need let me know which letters you need. (I'm missing one of each L, Q, R, and U tiles so I'm willing to part with the game).
I'll forward your message Willie!
Estelle - August 10, 2019
I have a travelling Scrabble set with 8 missing tiles. Is there anyway I can get replacement tiles as well as 2 stands and supports for them?
Hi, have a look here: Scrabble travel tiles
Doris - May 12, 2019
I would like the instructions for this game. I inherited it from my mother. It is called"Wer Zuletzt lacht, lacht am bessten." It says " Verlag von JW Spear
I could only find these German instructions.
Sue - April 11, 2019
I am looking for a game of Trek. It is a board game by Spear
Maybe here: Spears game Trek.
J - December 31, 2018
Looking for a Spears game called Follow on, quite old. I have one but would love to purchase another for my grandchildren as each family loves it and I can’t give it to one
Hi there, there are a couple for sale right now on eBay, take a look here: Spears Follow On.
J - December 28, 2018
Looking for Tops the number game. A tile game not tops the card game. In a pink box.
Lita - November 29, 2018
Hello, do you have any sources for the Spin to Win game? I'm in Canada and the only three I can find are in the UK. Shipping would be so expensive. THanks.
It seems they are only for sale on eBay UK at the moment, and only just a few... Can't find them in Canada either :-(
Caroline - November 11, 2018
Looking for board game Number Rumba.
Quite rare and expensive. A few were sold recently on eBay for around 60-90 USD but now there are none. Maybe someday one will popup on eBay again.
Sergio - November 5, 2018
I have a vintage Spear's Game. Title is "Parcheesi and Ladder Game".The box is purple in colour. One side of the board is a colourful for Parcheesi and the other side is for Snake and Ladders. I would like to know when was the game made and what did it include.Thanks
Difficult to tell, there were so many made for so many years. The antiques ones are from the start of the 20th century. Take a look at Google images, maybe you'll come across yours.
Kevin - October 3, 2018
Hi all,I have a game called "shut out" 2050 spear's games. Made in EEC for JW Spear
Never heard of it and can't find any info on this game.
Val - September 17, 2018
Looking for instructions for a marble track game called Scull Island Adventure.
I can't find one, but maybe this youtube video can help?
Pat - July 6, 2018
I have bought a standard size Rummikub but unfortunately the black 9 is missing. Can anyone tell me how I can get a replacement please.
Jill - May 27, 2018
I have a game called Sea Raid do you have any iinfo cant even find a picture of it?
Janet - April 1, 2018
I have an old spears game called Mister Genius and I cannot find it anywhere to get a value, and help would be appreciated. Thanks
About 5 to 10 USD.
Lulu - February 24, 2018
Regarding Spears Art Needlework set - I don't know who responded to my comment about looking for this item. What did you want to know about it? I don't see a place to respond or add photos to this forum - only a place to initiate a topic.
Reply came from me, the webmaster :-) Yes, the forum is a bit old fashioned, I have to update it...
Joan - February 15, 2018
I am looking for the instructions to the vintage game 'Pigs might fly' The oinkredible pig rescue game
"The farmer's got the pigs - can you save their bacon?" A board game where you're one of four 'pig detectives' and you have to rescue two pigs from the farmer's house before they can become bacon. Sorry can't find a manual for this one...
Lulu - February 8, 2018
Hi - I'm looking for Spear's Art Needlework kit.
Me too! I can't find anything about it...
Nicole - September 20, 2017
Desperately seeking Number Rumba. Happy to pay a lot!
Difficult to find, will keep my eyes open!
Jessie - July 15, 2017
I am looking for the rules to the Spears Square Routes game which seem to have been mislaid
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???
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.
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?
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 - October 17, 2016
I am looking for The Hamburger Game please, any idea?
Did you try searching hamburger game?
Ray - 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 - 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 - 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.
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
Can't find one right now, but search regularly on this site for: hoodwinked game maybe someday one will pop up.
Anne - 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
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.
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 - 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.