Among the many lots being highlighted in 2018 so far – the centenary year of women in Britain winning the right to vote (or some of them anyway) – is this game made to support the suffragette movement.
It was found by Etwall, Derbyshire, auction house Hansons during a free antiques valuation day in Alveston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, and is now offered in a March 27 sale with an estimate of around £100.
The dice game called was named after Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British suffragette movement, and her adversary, British prime minister from 1908-16 Herbert Asquith.
Asquith 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.
John Keightley, Hansons’ valuer, said: “It’s a wonderful find. The game isn’t complete as it is lacking the board. It dates back to around 1909 and is probably German. A complete game has sold in the past for £660 but, as this one is incomplete, it may only make around £100.
“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 figure falls on, you follow instructions such as: ‘Dodges the police and must go back to her home on square number 1’.
The suffragette movement produced toys and games to popularise its ideas and activities. The Pank-a-Squith board game was first advertised in the Votes for Women journal on October 22, 1909.
It was distributed and sold through a network of high-street shops run by the Women’s Social and Political Union.
Keightley added: “Objects like this show how advanced the suffragette movement was in terms of making merchandise to back their cause.”
Suffragette items sold recently at auction have included a banner which made £13,600 at Leeds saleroom Gary Don last summer.
The Museum of London is currently holding an exhibition of images and objects chosen from its vast collections of suffragette material.
The Suffragettes: Collection in Focus runs at the Museum of London, London Wall, until January 6, 2019.