The Par Picture Puzzle is among the most sought-after jigsaw puzzle brands ever made…and with good reason. The Par Company of Brooklyn, New York has been manufacturing these wood-backed jigsaw puzzles since the 1930’s. The quality of craftsmanship in the intricately-cut wooden backed pieces is simply stunning, and the time and expertise it takes to assemble one is a challenge even to the most experienced puzzle solvers. However, its the figural silhouettes hidden in the squiggly biomorphic puzzle pieces that really make a Par Picture Puzzle different. Every Par Picture Puzzle has a number of highly-detailed figural pieces of people, animals and objects. Here are some examples of the figural pieces in our puzzle.
These figural pieces differ in every puzzle they made. Some appear to match the general theme of the puzzle illustration, but for the most part, are completely random and adorable. The Par Company is actually still around to this very day, still making heirloom-quality puzzles with their copyrighted figural pieces.
The Par Picture Puzzle shown here is one of their earliest from the 1930’s. The green label with the seahorse logo is from the first generation of Par Puzzles. By the late-1930s or early-1940s, they switched to a black and white label, which looks identical save for the subtraction of the green color. The title of the puzzle is Down Dunwich Way, a pretty impressionist painting of florists and shoppers. The Par name is in reference to the golfing term, and each puzzle has a “par time” rating that puzzle enthusiasts try to match or beat. The “par” for this particular puzzle was five hours. I can’t remember the last time either of us actually played with a jigsaw puzzle, and we had no illustration of what the finished puzzle was supposed to look like! Working blindly, we were about 10 hours in and still had no idea what the puzzle depicted and if we would ever be able to solve it. Five hours? more like 50 hours! And much of that time included both of us working on it simultaneously.
My wonderful mother-in-law found another Par Picture Puzzle for us at an estate sale. Scroll down to see pictures of it!
Buy a Par Picture Puzzle for Sale
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This Par Picture Puzzle is titled “Who’s High” and contains approximately 400 wood-backed pieces, including 8 figural cutouts. It has vivid colors and unusual subject matter depicting a Middle Eastern persian rug auction. The inner lid tells the history of the puzzle, which was originally purchased in New York on September 21, 1948, along with a date for each time the puzzle was successfully completed. The puzzle measures approximately 13 inches x 15 inches when assembled. Par time: 3 hours, 20 minutes. Actual time: approximately 10-12 hours.