It came from a thrift store up in Denver, where I found it sitting on a shelf in the toy aisle, partially open, with playing cards spilling out of it.
I could tell the little case was old, but looked inside just briefly before putting it in my cart. I wasn't really even thinking about buying it at that point, but I knew it was old, and wasn't a toy, so I put it in my cart to look at later to try and figure out just what it was.
But then I forgot about it, got to the checkout to pay, and found it again... I saw the price was only $2.00 so I bought it. I figured the little antique suitcase alone was worth that...
When I got home and explored my purchase, I realized I'd found a little gem... I found a short handwritten tucked away in the case telling it's history. Here's what it says:
Hope you like this - it's not new, it's about 40 years old. (Pearl Harbor days) - It belonged to a good friend of mine - his wife owns the local antique store - (Dolly's Antiques-) Her husband is ill and was disposing of all his things he had during his younger days. Dolly said Bill had this when he was in the Navy during WWII. I thought you would like to have it - take care and pass it down to your sons - !
Happy Christmas - and hope the Bunny Business picks up!
Love Gran and Grandad xxx
So the letter dates from the 1980's, and the case holds a bit of WWII history... and a sad story of that bit of history somehow ending up on a thrift store toy shelf.
It's a game set made my Rott Games, and dates (as close as I can figure out) from 1939-1940ish.
It includes checkers, backgammon, dominoes, cribbage, dice, a horse race game, two decks of playing cards (one newer, not original), poker chips, and two playing mats... a felt one for the horse race game, and the other... made from an interesting oil-cloth kind of material... for checkers/chess and backgammon.
I'm so glad I rescued it, and I wonder about the man (boy?) who carried this little case with him during his time of service during the horrific WWII years... I think about the games he played with his buddies (cribbage might have been the most popular, the cribbage set is pretty worn) and the stories the case could tell if it could talk.
I do love stumbling upon little bits of history like this...