The American Game Collectors Association (AGCA) was founded in February 1985 by Bruce Whitehill following discussions with several game collectors. Most important was Lee Dennis, established games historian and writer, and owner (with husband Rally) of The Game Preserve, a game museum that closed its doors in the 1988. Four other advisors were instrumental in the founding of the organization: Debby and Marty Krim, John Mautner, and Herb Siegel. Shortly thereafter George Sanborn and Frank Simon joined the informal “Board of Directors” to help advise in the design of the AGCA’s goals, requirements, and procedures.
Bruce Whitehill was elected President and began by writing and editing a newsletter about games, game companies, and collectors. Whitehill drafted a Charter, the Board amended it, and the membership approved it. The main focus of the organization was on games of American origin manufactured prior to World War II. Membership, however, was open to anyone, and many collectors of other playthings (such as puzzles, architectural blocks, marbles, playing cards, tops, etc.) joined.
With extensive outreach to potential members the group grew rapidly, from a handful of members in February to 79 by the end of 1985. Of those, 31 became charter members by showing they each owned at least 50 pre-World War II games or puzzles, and by paying two years’ worth of dues. Dues at the time were $15 per year. The first annual convention took place in October 1985, with more than 20 members attending the weekend in Essex, Connecticut, USA.
With increased membership and a large influx of jigsaw puzzle and mechanical puzzle collectors over the next thirteen years, Whitehill suggested, in 1999, that it was time to change both the focus and name of the organization. The Board of Directors agreed, and the membership voted to change the name to the Association of Game & Puzzle Collectors (AGPC). The group subsequently became the Association for Games & Puzzles International (AGPI) in 2016 to better reflect its expanded charter focus and global membership base.