Title Deeds have undergone many changes over the years. Although basically the same since 1935 there are subtle differences that will help date these cards; if not to a year then at least to an era.
The first mass produced Title Deeds were in the Darrow white box sets. These cards are strikingly different than their modern counterparts. These cards are 2 3/4 inches wide by 4 inches tall and are printed on colored cardstock to match their color group. The cards shown here are reproductions but are fairly accurate in appearance to the originals.
The 1935 Darrow black box has Title Deeds more closely matching the modern cards. They are white cards with the color stripe across the top, but they have a matching colored border as well. When Parker Brothers bought Darrow's stock 5900 sets of these cards went with the sale. Interestingly, none of these cards ever made it into Parker Brothers sets. It's assumed that all of these cards were destroyed. The cards shown here are reproductions made by Winning Moves (the originals do not have the Hasbro copyright).
Parker Brothers produced six different sets of deeds in 1935. The first of these cards were identical to the Darrow black box cards except they had black borders instead of the matching borders of the Darrow cards. These cards are found in Trade-Mark, Patent Pending, and some Single Patent #7s, and in Trade-Mark #9s. These cards do not have Mortgage information on the back. Shown here are cards out of a Single Patent #7.
The second of the six moved the rent from being in line with the rest of the text to being centered on the card. These cards also do not have Mortgage information on the back and all property names are written in black on the colored stripe. "TITLE DEED" is added to the top of the color stripe and the information about doubling rent is changed (see photos). The cards shown here are from a single patent #7.
The third type is identical to the second but with mortgage information on the back. These are the first cards to have mortgage information on the back. These also may have been made in conjunction with type 5 cards (discussed below). I believe this may be the case because types 2 and 4 are blank backs and types 3 and 5 have mortgage info on them. This probably means that different printers were trying different things to make the cards look better and Parker Brothers was trying to figure out which way to go.
The fourth and fifth types changed the wording in the color stipe on the purples and dark blues from black to white. What makes these distinctive is that the white lettering used a different font than the other black printed cards, and the type was huge on three of the four cards (Mediterranean used a smaller type size because of the length of the word). These cards came with and without mortgage information on the back. The cards shown here are out of a Single Patent #7.
There is a 1936 subset to the fourth type. Many of these Title Deeds have turned up without any Mortgage information on the back. It's not known if this was done in error or as a time saving measure or what. The only thing that is known is that all the sets that have turned up are in 1936 Dual Patent #7s (If anyone has more information on these cards or has found them in something other tan a #7 please let me know).
The next change that occurred to the Title Deeds was in 1951/52. At this time the look of the cards didn't change, but an almost 20 year old error was corrected. The rent on Marvin Gardens was changed from $22 to $24. Marvin Gardens should have been $24 all along, but a typo by Darrow made it into the Parker Brothers sets where it remained for almost 2 decades.
1957 brought about the next change in the Title Deeds. A black border was added around the colour stripe. This change occurred somewhere in the train box run as both types of cards are in the train boxes. New stock/old stock issues may have some of these older Deeds showing up in some of the yellow #9s. The cards shown here are from a 1968 #9.
The next change doesn't appear to have been made until after the Toka aquisition in 1988. "©1935 PARKER BROTHERS" was added to the bottom of the cards. The cards pictured here are from a 1991 #7 Deluxe Anniversary edition.
After Hasbro bought Tonka in 1991 the deeds were changed once again. "© 1935 Hasbro, Inc." replaced "©1935 PARKER BROTHERS" at the bottom of the card. The cards pictured here are from a 2007 #9. Another change made by Hasbro was the size of the icons at the top of the railroad and utility cards. These were made about twice as big as they had ever been before. The cards pictured are from 1991 and 1998.
August 2008. Monopoly has been standardized throughout the world. No longer are the Title Deeds 2 5/8 by 3 inches. For the first time in 73 years the Title Deeds in the U.S.A. edition are 2 1/4 by 3 1/2 inches. The biggest change involves the lowest rent group on the board. The dark purple group is now brown (this group has always been brown in British sets and many other international sets).
Also all the printing in the colour stripes is black again (no more white printing on Mediterranean, Baltic, Park Place, and Boardwalk). The motrtgage information is changed as well. The black printing on a blank background has been changed to white printing on a red background.