Record-Breaking Jigsaw Puzzles

OLDEST jigsaw puzzle
SMALLEST jigsaw puzzle
LARGEST jigsaw puzzle
MOST EXPENSIVE jigsaw puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles of the RICH & FAMOUS
LONGEST/SHORTEST TIME to complete a jigsaw puzzle
MOST DIFFICULT puzzles page

...and various other information and comments from the community about record-breaking or record-setting jigsaw puzzles.

Any comments can be directed to our mail center .
Thanks, Jim McW


·the oldest jigsaw -- Generally dated to about 1760 or so.

from "An Old Collector"--17 April 2002:
Hi Jim
What a question !
The Oldest Jigsaws, or dissected puzzles as they were then called, were the dissected maps made by John Spilsbury, map maker and owner of a print shop in Russell Court, London. He was born in Worcester in 1739 and Linda Hannas' book ' The English Jigsaw Puzzle 1760-1890' gives a detailed account of his life. John shared the premises with his brother Jonathan, who was a fashionable portrait painter whose wealthy clients would drop into the shop, his most famous portrait was of George III .
In 1785 John Wallis published the first really light hearted puzzle ' John Gilpin ' an illustration of William Cowpers ballad.
In 1787 William Darton was the first to dissect a chronological table of English Sovereigns with the grand title '' Engravings for Teaching the Elements of English History and Chronology after the manner of Dissected Maps for Teaching Geography.'' The puzzle was as stodgy as the title, and the next year his rival and neighbor, John Wallis produced a lighter version that went on selling for the next ten years.

·the smallest jigsaw -- King Tut"King Tut",
a wooden puzzle, approximately 6.55cm x 5.5cm (less than 2.6 in. x less than 2.2 in. ), made by KARNAN, in Sweden. (Anne Williams includes an illustration of another in this series, "Space Shuttle", in her Jigsaw Puzzles: An Illustrated History and Price Guide.)

from "An Old Collector"--17 April 2002:
Hi Jim
The Smallest. Depends on definition. The Guinness Book of Records for 1984 describes a 99 piece puzzle 7.75cm x 5.7cm as being the most difficult.........with a density of 40,000 unique pieces per square metre.
This was made in Sweden computer controlled and cut by water jets. it is still marketed in UK by ' Tobar ' at St. Margaret, Harleston, Norfolk. It would be best to check with the Guinness Book of Records to find out if this has been beaten.
Educa Sallent SA claim to produce the smallest 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle measuring 46 x 30 cm.

from "RB Puzzles"--4 August 2002:
This, as well as the largest puzzle, is kind of subjective. Small in what way? In size, number of pieces, overall size with an average sized pieces? I have seen "matchbox puzzles" by Shackman. The one I saw was 12 pieces and the y were stored in a matchbox sized container. I think of the smallest as being the smallest in size with the smallest sized pieces. The water jet ones that were mentioned fit that bill in my mind. I have one (scan attached) that is an advertisement for Ingersoll-Rand water jets, that is round and about 56mm cross. This would make it smaller in area than the water-jet ones normally seen, although it contains less pieces. I would guess the pieces are about the same size though, about 7mm square.
Ingersoll-Rand"Ingersoll-Rand" promotional puzzle.


·the largest jigsaw -- See the letter from "JO" (near the bottom of this page), about the RAVENSBURGERTM puzzle of 18,240 pieces.

from "An Old Collector"--17 April 2002:
Hi Jim
The Largest . This changes on a regular basis it is best to check with The Guiness Book of Records for the latest official version.

from Jim McW--13 April 2002:
"An Old Collector" has suggested consulting the Guinness Book of World Records. We don't have a current copy at our fingertips, but our latest copy ( a year or two old ) says that the largest jigsaw puzzle was one assembled in France a few years ago, consisting of 43,924 pieces and measuring 51,485 square feet. Another is described as 204,484 pieces, 1,036 square feet, assembled in 1991, in the Netherlands.
Thanks, Jim McW

from "RB Puzzles"--4 August 2002:
It seems I read about this also in a Guinness Book but cannot recall the details. I believe it was a puzzle with pieces in the 6 figure range, as far as normal size pieces go. But, I also read of one that had pieces that were 3 or 4 feet square, something about a college project or something. The largest puzzle I have made and sold was 1388 pieces - 24" x 36". I'm working on one right now that will be basically round and 5 foot across....all black!

from Nancy Ballhagen--Hi Jim, I would like to add one of my husband's handcut wooden puzzles in the largest category. It is a puzzle of cows and calves, 168 of them, it is 23in tall by 68 inches wide, it has an irregular boarder and 3104 pieces. The puzzle was made up of 12 calender pages and is entirely colorline cut. I don't even want to think about putting it together. It took him 145 hours to cut. Please note: This was the last one he cut, he says it is too tedious. He also makes ornately trimmed miniature store front buildings in 1in to 1 ft scale, talk about tedious. Nancy

from "WV"--23 February 2003:
appears that Ravensburger has now issued the world's largest commercial jigsaw, available today at jigsawjungle and in europe, the 18,000 piece antique maps of the world. Wow! Consists of four bags of 4,500 plus pieces each..what a challenge!

from "M8 from Mass."--8 June 2003:
Just wanted to pitch in my two cents regarding the large puzzles: the 12,000-piece Ravensburger "The Creation of Adam" puzzle has sat gathering dust on my bedroom floor, awaiting completion for more than two years. I finished the left and right panels, but the massive area of light-blue/white in the center is extremely difficult, probably the most monotonous stretch I've ever attempted. I'm planning to finish that part this fall, what with all these new puzzles coming out. Personally, I've completed some monsters: the 9,000-piece Tower of Babel, Clementoni's 13,200-piece "Sacred and Secular Love" (actually quite manageable: bagged in six table-sized sections), Educa's 8,000-piece Sistine Chapel Ceiling and The Surrender at Granada. I've framed most of them, and in a couple of years I'm planning a permanent installation at our local public library. I try to do two large ones a year, mostly around the winter holidays. As far as I'm concerned, the big puzzles of classic art are the best. Incidentally, does anyone know of anyone selling the 8,000-piece Educa "Alexander the Great Visiting the Studio of Apelles" puzzle? It's a beauty, and I think it may have passed me by. Is there any way of getting a copy through Educa, perhaps one with a slightly damaged box or something? Would love any advice on this. Also, I've seen an 8,000-piece Goya painting on a site "Jen's Completed Puzzles" also from Educa; do the manufacturers have any of these puzzles lying around? Thanks, and happy puzzling.
"M8 from Mass."

from "M8 from Mass."--20 February 2007:
Hi Jim,
I just noticed a new 24,000 piece puzzle on the Bits and Pieces website. It is an animated image called "Life." It is due out on March 5th, according to the site. No manufacturer is listed but it looks like an Educa. Probably comes in four bags. This beats anything else in terms of number of pieces, including the art-puzzle.com upscale wooden puzzle site, and it ups the ante in the longstanding Educa-Ravensburger puzzle wars. Since writing you last, I have completed the 8,000 piece Studio of Apeles [mentioned above], as well as a 3,000 piece "Guernica" by Picasso, 4,000 piece Bruegel "Children's Games", 5,000 piece Canaletto painting of Venice, 10,000 piece "Garden of Earthly Delights" by Bosch, two of the four sections of the 18,000 piece Four Maps, and I will sometime this month finish the 10,000 piece "Las Hilanderas" by Velazquez.
In addition to these I also have a closet full of puzzles yet to be started. I will try to send some photos to you in the near future. Most of the completed puzzles are currently stacked neatly in little square piles, because I never seem to get around to framing them. I figure at present they are not fading from daylight and that at some point I can get them all framed at the same time and display them someplace with a lot of open wallspace.
"M8 from Mass."

from "ML"--13 May 2005:
Dear Puzzle history,

I have a new candidate for the world's largest commercially available jigsaw. It is made by art-puzzle.com, called Victory and Death of the Consul [Decius Mus], is 200 x 360 cm (79 x 142 inches), has 22,400 pieces and retails for the princely sum of EUR 4,560.00.

Please see the link below and click on Biggest jigsaw puzzles.

The only argument against including it is that they are custom made and as such not really commercially available. However, it is in a catalogue so I would argue it should be included.



P.S. I am currently doing Educa's 18,000 piece Columba Altarpiece which I felt to be more interesting than the 4 old world maps or tropical impressions (these are really 4 separate puzzles anyway).

I started on 1 April 2004 and expect to finish by the end of 2005. It is fantastically detailed and high quality. You need a big room though !

[Jim McW, 2005]We have received word that there has recently been an event in Germany (Nürnberg, Germany; birth place of Albrecht Dürer). The puzzle was 20 x 15 meters (300 square meters !), with around 1700 pieces. Visitors made the puzzle during the Albrecht-Duerer-Wekkend in Nuernberg. We understand the puzzle was made by Art-Puzzle.Com.
While the link exists, go here to see pictures of the event.

from "RL"--14 February 2006:
I came across your site whilst searching for "worlds largest jigsaw puzzle". It might interest you to know that we made the worlds largest puzzle, in the guiness book of records in 1990. It was 920.22 sq mtrs (9905 sq ft) and had 187,220 pieces. It was made of wood and weighed 3.5 tons! Regards,

from "JM"--2 May 2007:
Hi there.
My brother is the artist behind the latest "World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle" 24,000 pieces! I have just created a website for it here:
You can read the story of its creation and view it close-up on my website.

·the most expensive jigsaw -- Par puzzles can sell for $1000 up. Those which can be identified as custom-made for celebrities may bring much higher prices.

from Nancy Ballhagen of MISSOURI PUZZLES--13 April 2002:
Also, some of the Stave puzzles go for several thousand dollars.

from "An Old Collector"--17 April 2002:
Hi Jim
Spilsbury dissections were sold at auction for over £1000 in 1984 - today's prices would be many times that.
Other early 18th and 19th century puzzles in good condition and interesting subject would reach £600+ at auction.

9 July 2002:
The latest issue of Game & Puzzle Collectors Quarterly [see the
AGPC website ] contains a great article by the British puzzle cutter Simon Stocken, who has a puzzle, "Sir Walter Raleigh", with a price tag of $22,200 !

from "RB Puzzles"--4 August 2002:
I also believe I read something about Stave, at the time of the Guinness Book records I read, holding that distinction. Something like $4000-$4500 for a custom made puzzle for The Royal Family (If memory serves me, but I could be wrong).

from Jim McW--16 October 2005:We have just heard from Anne Williams that "...Pagey Elliott, a talented puzzle cutter in her nineties, now appears to hold the record for the most valuable single puzzle ever sold." !!

·jigsaws of the rich and famous -- Par puzzles. Anne Williams (the foremost authority in the U.S.A. on jigsaw puzzles ) says, in her Jigsaw Puzzles: An Illustrated History and Price Guide, that Par Puzzles included many of the rich and famous among their clients, including the Duke of Windsor.

from "An Old Collector"--17 April 2002:
Hi Jim
Jigsaws of the rich and Famous. Does this mean Rich and Famous people who enjoyed Jigsaw Puzzles or were the subjects of Jigsaw Puzzles ?
Queen Victoria described an evening spent assembling dissected pictures with Lord Melbourne and Lord Conyngham in her journal as ' the pleasantest gayest evening I have passed for some time I sat up until 1/2 past 11.'
George III was depicted in an early puzzle and Royal events made subjects from the Coronation of George IV to the present day. The Royal Marriage at Windsor 1863 by J.W. Barfoot depicted the marriage of Queen Victorias son the Prince of Wales ( later Edward VII ) to Princess Alaxandra of Denmark.
Later Holtzapffel and Tuck were granted Royal Warrants by Edward VII, Holtzapffel also had a warrant from HRH the Crown Prince of Greece. Tucks had Sir Arther Conan Doyle as one of its directors, were not to be outdone, and their Zag-Zaw puzzles launched in 1909 carried the inscription on the box '' Incomparably the Best. The Original British Made Tuck's Zag-Zaw The Royal Picture Puzzle. A most fascinating recreation used by Royalty, Society and the great public.''
The British Jigsaw Club had many famous and wealthy clients throughout its history, ranging from its founders the twin sons of the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, an ex-Vicerene of India, Members of Parliament, Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr Attlee, Princesses Marie Louise and Helena Victoria.
Many of the First World war leaders were subjects of jigsaw puzzles including Lord Kitchener and Field Marshalls.

·how many puzzles are sold? -- We have no hard statistics, but we estimate that well in excess of 10 million jigsaw puzzles are sold each year.
·the longest/ shortest time anyone has spent completing a jigsaw puzzle -- Our personal "worst" time was about six weeks, on one particularly difficult wooden puzzle (see "Polperro Harbour", below), but we were only able to work on it at spare moments on weekends. That's our excuse, and we're sticking by it. Our "best" time was probably about 45 minutes, except for small puzzles.

from Nancy Ballhagen of MISSOURI PUZZLES--13 April 2002:
Hi Jim, Looks like you covered the subject pretty well. About the only thing I can add is working on a puzzle a long time. We worked on the 7500 piece puzzle of New York skyline for a total of 10 months. Four of us worked on it for 2 and 1/2 weeks and got the water, buildings and clouds done but when our son and my mom (who were visiting from California) left, it took us the rest of 10 months to finish the blue sky. It just wasn't fun any more, so we put pieces in once in a while. It is hanging in our store now. It is 3 1/2 feet high and 8 1/2 feet long.

from Michael Malais--24 August 2002:
Hello to you all,

My name is Michael Malais, from the Netherlands (Rotterdam).
My record of finalysing a puzzle is 22 minutes and 52 seconds for a Jumbo jigsaw consisting of 514 pieces.
I think this can be regarded as an unofficial world record.

Best regards,
Michael Malais

from kasia--12 May 2003:
My personal best puzzle is the "Creation of Man" by Ravensburger - 12096 pieces.
Creation of Adam
"Creation of Adam"
It took 7 months of my life, but not all the time was spent on puzzles of course.
Now I'm saving money to do the 18000-piece four maps by Ravensburger. I also
did the historical map of the world 9000, and the New York New York from 3D ones.
All of the puzzles are completed now and hanging on my walls :)).

Best regards,
ps. I am from Poland, and I'm very happy I found this site.
pps. I recall now that I've finished one of my 1000-piece puzzles in 6 hours.:
2 Mucha puzzles2 Mucha puzzles
four puzzles, from works of Alfons Mucha
See Q&A No. 1052 for other puzzles in my collection.

Best regards,

from "JO"--12 May 2003:
Hello all,
I wanted to write and say that I have finished the 18,240 piece Historical World Maps puzzle. It took me from January 1st {so I would remember my start date} until December 26th. I was determined to finish under 1 year's time. It's the world'largest commercially available puzzle. It's the one on the floor. If I glue it in my house it will not fit out so I need to figure out where it's gonna go. The picture also shows the 13,224 piece Sacred and Profane Love. Not pictured are the 9120 piece Map of the World, 8000 Sistine Chapel, 7488 NYC skyline, 1 6016 and 2 5054 piece puzzles that I have done. I would love to hear comments from anyone.
Very large puzzles"Sacred and Profane Love" and "Historical World Maps"

from "KL"--17 September 2004:
I am working on the Sistene Chapel puzzle and had the same problem as "Jo" has with her massive 18,000 piece puzzle. Someone recommended that I divide it into manageable sections, flip the sections over, and then clear tape the individual sections (the person recommended both horizontally and then vertically).
Then, put the sections together and tape the seams. That way, if you ever have to move the puzzle, you undo the seams, pack it up, and then reassemble!
I've taped two sections already, and it works.

from "by"--7 February 2006:
I am a starter, I bought a box with 11 puzzles - in one week I did 4 puzzle with 1000 pieces / 6 puzzles with 500 pieces and 2 puzzles with 750 pieces , a total of 8500 pieces in one week in my spare time. I did one 500 piece puzzle in one hour.

from "GMC"--12 October 2006:
I came across your site, while searching for jigsaw puzzles. My partner and myself ( both mid 50,s) live at ___________ in South Australia. We had the 18000 piece puzzle ‘ Tropical Impressions ’ delivered to our post box on 7th of August , and today 12th of October (66 days later) we have completed this magnificent puzzle.

from "EH"--8 February 2007:

Just finished the Clementoni World Map Puzzle. Puzzle is 13224 pieces, and took me 43 days to complete from open to close.

Thanks, "EH"

from "Jim McW"--14 June 2007:
"JS" just sent us a notice of a claim for "fastest puzzle completed". The recent claim was for completing a 250-piece jigsaw puzzle in less than 15 minutes.

Upon reflection, we observe that record-breaking can be rather complicated. Some possible variables in setting records for fast jigsaw puzzle completion might be: number of pieces, type of cut, type of picture, and previous familiarity with the puzzle.
In some jigsaw puzzle contests held in the past, the puzzles were un-published, so that each contestant was completing a puzzle he or she had never seen.

Thanks, "Jim McW"

from "cw"-- 27 December 2010:

it took my wife and I, 2 months, (July & August 2007) to put together ravensburger's 9000 piece 'wedding at cana' (4.5 ft. tall x 6.5 ft wide), i've also put together a 1000 piece puzzle in about an hour, and a 500 piece in 20 minutes. i find it odd it takes some people more time for a puzzle with less pieces.

·details of any jigsaw puzzle competitions or major events -- We don't have direct experience with any competitions, but there used to be a website devoted to the last jigsaw puzzle contest of which we are aware, about two years ago, in Chicago. The website is no longer active. We have heard of no plans for another contest.
Any additional information or corrections, from anyone?
Thanks, Jim McW
UPDATE - 14 May 2003:
See references on this site, no. 251, Page 18; no. 408, Page 29; and no. 435, Page 31.
For extensive, additional information, see the relevant pages on "Springbok Fever, by Mike Helland".:
(National Jigsaw Puzzle Championships, 1982-1990.)

·the amateur cutter who has cut the most puzzles -- Enid Stocken was a remarkable lady who started cutting Jigsaw Puzzles in 1915 to raise money for comforts for the War wounded and carried on cutting for Charity until 1983, when she died. She had cut something like 20,000 to 25,000 puzzles by then. You may learn more about her and her son and grandchildren in Tom Tyler's book, British Jigsaw Puzzles.
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