750, Art, Ravensburger

750, Ravensburger, The Wedding Tour, Moritz von Schwind

There are two main reasons why I like Ravensburger puzzles, apart from the image of the puzzle itself. One of them is the matte finish of their pieces. They show a distinctive texture that I prefer over other brands that tend to have glossy surfaces. That matte finish is also common in Clementoni puzzles. The other reason is the excellent quality of the pieces and the way the poster is glued to the cardboard. It is not uncommon to find a 50 year old used copy, like the Wedding Tour, and enjoy a jigsaw puzzle that looks like new. The preference for matte finish is quite a personal choice. They say that in matters of taste there can be no disputes (de gustibus non est disputandum). However, I think most puzzle fans would agree on the excellent quality of old Ravensburger puzzles. In fact, they even tend to weigh more than most other brands. That means that the cardboard used is more dense or thicker. A puzzle by Ravensburger will normally be heavier than most other brands, with perhaps the exception of Jumbo and some old MB puzzles that...

Continue reading

Uncategorized

White Puzzle in the Movie “Sleuth” (1972)

The Japanese brand Beverly started producing not long ago some puzzles with no pattern at all. Just a solid black or a solid white puzzle. They first commercialized small 100 pieces puzzles of this type. Then they got bolder and published 150, 300, and 1000 pieces versions. Finally, they came up with a 2000 pieces version. If the level of difficulty can be measured as difficult, very difficult, and extremely difficult, this puzzle defies classification and it is defined as Torture. In fact, there is a warning in the box: For masochists only. Users refer to it as white torture, white hell, pure hell, or pure white hell. There are some people that have completed the 1000 pieces version, but not many brave enough to attempt the 2000 pieces version. I wonder whether it is more difficult than the 5000 version by Ravensburger of The Night Watch. One day, talking about puzzles and movies, @aschenbach13 pointed out that there was an old movie where such puzzle appeared: Sleuth, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1972. That means that they came up with the idea of a white puzzle 40 years before the Japanese manufacturer. A white puzzle and other games Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier) is a successful...

Continue reading

1500, Art, Ravensburger

1500, Ravensburger, The Dinner at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, Jeanniot

The Dinner at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, by Pierre-Georges Jeanniot, is not one of my favorite puzzles. That doesn't mean it is not a nice and entertaining puzzle, which it is. Besides, it is always a pleasure to complete a Ravensburger puzzle due to the good quality of their pieces. However, I don't think I would have chosen it in the first place if I had had a choice. We are all human and we all make mistakes. I sold this puzzle to a customer in Poland, complete and with the pieces in excellent condition. However, when my customer finished the puzzle, he discovered that there was a foreign piece. That meant that the puzzle was actually incomplete. Ops! I think I can always detect foreign pieces, but I couldn't detect this one. I found and bought another copy of the puzzle, hoping that it would be compatible with my customer's copy. That way, I could get a replacement piece for him. However, the copy was not compatible. Then, I assembled the puzzle and sent it to my customer in layers. Eventually he had the whole puzzle replaced and his work putting it together was not lost. At home at the Hotel...

Continue reading

5000, Art, Ravensburger

5000, Ravensburger, The Night Watch, Rembrandt

There is a reason why The Night Watch, which Ravensburger produced in 1977, still appears quite often (usually in used condition), despite the fact that it is more than 40 years old. Other large puzzles of the late 70's and 80's are very rare, like Country Fair, for example, which Ravensburger published just two years later. Now that I have completed it, I know the reason. It is one of the most difficult jigsaw puzzles out there. I remember when I completed years ago the 6000 pieces Schmidt version of The Allegory of Spring. Back then, I felt it was a real challenge to complete those last thousand pieces, which were mostly dark. In this case, it was the other way around. After placing one thousand pieces, I had around four thousand pieces left that were mostly dark. This puzzle doesn't compare to any puzzle that I have assembled before. In fact, I have now the feeling that I got my Master's Degree in puzzles. Before The Night Watch, I was just an undergraduate student. Now I truly feel that I can put together ANY jigsaw puzzle. The Night Watch becomes the "Nightmare". Soon after you place all the pieces that have distinct fields...

Continue reading

1000, Art, Clementoni

1000, Clementoni, Moulin Rouge, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

When I started this puzzle, I knew that there was a missing piece. It should have 999 pieces, but there were only 998 pieces. Some time ago, when this happened, I used to verify the puzzle a second time. My hope was that I had made a mistake, but the second verification gave always the same result. It was a shame, because this puzzle by Clementoni with a poster of the Moulin Rouge by Toulouse-Lautrec was very unusual. However, after buying more than 200 incomplete puzzles, it is not disappointing anymore. It's part of what we do at Rare Puzzles: being sure that we only list the complete ones. Initially, I was listing the incomplete puzzles in the online store at very low prices. However, when I decided to start the Missing Pieces replacement service, I thought it was better to keep them, put them together, and offer them for replacements. So, I have accepted the idea that I am now a puzzle enthusiast that will only assemble incomplete puzzles. Moulin Rouge: La Goulue That is the complete title of this poster by Toulouse-Lautrec. It was a color lithograph from 1891. Although they printed around 3000 copies, most of them were pasted as...

Continue reading

1500, Art, Ravensburger

1500, Ravensburger, The Four Days’ Battle, Abraham Storck

Naval battle images like The Four Days' Battle make beautiful puzzles. That's why most jigsaw puzzle manufacturers have used these images in their catalogs for decades. Several classic puzzles come to mind, like the extraordinary 6000 pieces version of The Battle of Lepanto, by Andrea Vicentino. However, for some reason naval battles are not popular anymore. As a consequence, all those puzzles are now out of catalog and very difficult to find. In fact, the last time a classic naval battle puzzle puzzle appeared was 1998, when Educa manufactured, again, The Battle of Lepanto, by H. Letter. Some puzzle fans say that the name naval battle is not the best for this type of puzzles. Instead, the name should be sky and sea puzzles. After all, most of the pieces belong to huge areas of sea and sky, while the ships are often just a small part of the image. While that is true, and sometimes there are large areas of solid tones that are very challenging, the truth is that most of these puzzles are magnificent. The Four Days' Battle, which Ravensburger manufactured in 1974, is a good example. It is, however, unfortunate that we need to go back more...

Continue reading