These are difficult unsolved questions that arise as we sort through our cluttered storage.
Please help us answer some of these unsolved mysteries.
We occasionally give puzzles as prizes for the best publishable solutions!

Click here to see some of the solved queries.



Follow link to The Mystery of the Sea

"The Great Volunteer Review, 1899". A wonderful 608 piece wooden jigsaw of a bird's-eye view of the British Army parading around Hyde Park, London, prior to departing for the Boer War in South Africa.

The picture has a small numbers printed by each of the regiments; so we want to locate a copy of the key to these.

Do you know where the picture originates ?


"A Journey to Lindley Murray's" is a jigsaw puzzle and a board game.

This beautiful jigsaw published by Betts around 1849 is also a board game. Each of the vignettes along the track are numbered.

Can you tell us where to find a copy of the rules?

Lindley Murray was a famous American who came to England to teach us grammar.

Nobody solved our Winter 2011 solstice rebus.
Can you?



Do you know this sculpture?

Who made it?





Do you recognize the signature below ?


Snuff Coffins

These are well made and well naughty puzzle boxes but who made them and when?

We now know of six examples, so someone had a significant craft business. The most elaborate one has two puzzles and 10 separate or moving parts.

When we have the answers we will feature one as Puzzle of the Month.

An old take on health warnings - Smoking will damage your health. Lots of double-etendres here:
Take snuff and likewise you may "snuff it" and then you will become a stiff un.

Does the style of writing help you date them?


Who made this wonderful acrylic puzzle?

We believe it was made in France




This three-piece ivory puzzle has six animal heads

We hoped that, if we knew what the animals were, we might be able to deduce where the puzzle came from.







With the help from observant visitors, we appear to have:

On the left:

  • Leopard
  • Bullock
  • Elephant with broken trunk

On the right:

  • Horse
  • Rhino (One-horned from Perak (spotted by JR in 2013)
  • Not sure about the lower right beastie. JR thinks it may be a heraldic tiger - Any better suggestions?






This Stabbing Game or Dexterity puzzle came from the Eileen Scott collection in the 1970s. Both she and we think the figure looks as if it came from Easter Island or Africa.

Can you identify the style?

Where does it originate?






This is probably a crochet hook.

Do you know when and where it was made?




What is this wotsit? Is it a thread winder?




What is this? A miniature deer on the end of an ivory stick. The deer's head is attached with a springy bristle so it moves.





What are these curious ivory items? Are they a demonstration of the carver's skills or are they part of an elaborate game of Spillikins?



We would have little doubt that these were bodkin needles except for the fact that they were found, individually, included in different sets of Spillikins.

Are they bodkins, if so from where?

If they are Spillikins, what do they represent?



Do you know an expert on Spillikins? Were there standard tools and weapons in most 19th Century sets?





What belongs in this curious 4-sided space?


What belongs in this curious club shaped space?





What is this 5 inch (12.5 cm) diameter, 19 dimple object ?

Pressed or stamped from sheet brass.


Have you got one of these?

We need the instructions please.




What are these two wooden pieces?

The cup shaped depression in the base of the soldier does not quite match the cavity in the top of the piece on the left.


This board looks as though it was made around 1870-1890.

What game or puzzle was played on it?

Please note that it is not the 8 pointed "Octostar Puzzle" .




What is this extraordinary print.
A Game, a Puzzle, or an Oracle?

Published by W.H.Crook, London 1812. It folds up into a cube, which is 9.3 cm. along each edge.

The unit squares depict all manner of things and are numbered from 61 to 100.

Was there originally another part numbered 1 to 60?


We have used rubber bands to hold the cube in shape for these photographs as the original tabs are now very weak.



Is this TRENTAL? What is TRENTAL?


Have you got this puzzle or game?


We think this beautiful board (33 cm. diameter) is for a puzzle called TRENTAL. We think it should have 30 balls and 20 or so pieces that look like turned Trees about 3 to 4 cm. tall.

We badly want a copy of the rules, and if found, a set of the balls & "tree" pieces. Maybe someone out there has a nice mahogany box full of all that we are missing.



The bottom of the board.







How old is this gold 3-band puzzle ring, and from where does it come ?

Several Jewelry experts have looked and suggested ages of 150 to over 600 years old. The key to the correct date must lie in the script and meaning of the script.

The first suggestion was that they were a stylized form of IHS; however now we have had three people tell us that the characters should be orientated as shown in the upper illustration, and that they are DEVANAGARI.

If this is correct then our gold puzzle comes from Northern India, Nepal or thereabouts. Can anyone deduce the precise location, their age, and the meaning? If so, please email us!

Possibly we are wrong and have the writing the wrong way up. Is there a completely different interpretation?

JG of Chicago won a puzzle prize by locating the ring that appeared in this picture from a Pictorial Encyclopedia of around 1910.

It is a medieval puzzle ring which splits up into three interlocked rings and is very similar to our's.

Another puzzle prize is still available for translating the script and pointing the way to the origin of our gold ring.


What is this curious object?

A small bone or ivory tray on legs containing 15 tablets.
The solid tray is divided 4 x 4: Half the squares are numbered and half are rosewood.
The 15 loose tablets have numbers on both sides:
The values are shown in the table opposite thus number 10 has number 90 on its reverse.
Can you tell us what it is? A Puzzle, A Game, or something else?
Is it missing one piece? If so what numbers should be on the missing piece?

P449  le with numbers        
Layout of The Tray  
  20 160 x x  
  x x 60 120  
  114 40 x x  
  x x 100 80  
side A
side B
1 10 90      
2 20 100      
3 30 110      
5 50 130      
6 60 140      
7 70 150      
8 80 160      
9 10 170      
10 20 180      
11 30 190      
12 40 200      
13 50 210      
14 60 220      
15 70 230      


Can you tell us about, or put us in touch with, the 3 makers of these beautiful Jigsaw puzzles from the mid-1970s. ? Initials of two are JM and JN.



Who made these wonderful 3D Jigsaws in the 1990s?
It is possible that they were made in Wales U.K. but the larger lighthouse looks very like Brant Point, Nantucket, USA


A South African History Puzzle

What is the script on the Napkin Ring?
What does "1/6 ME A DOG" mean?
Can you solve either of these
Johnson Coins?
Who was Scannavini ?
Please help us answer some of these unsolved mysteries.
We give puzzles as prizes for the best publishable solutions!


If you arrived here looking for a "Puzzle of the Month" then perhaps we are late, or maybe you are early, in either case here are some other places in the Puzzle Museum that you may not have discovered:-

Books and Ephemera

The Jaques Project


Professor Hoffmann Editions

Random Destinations click
here then keep clicking the
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