places to find free cheap used puzzles

5 Tips for Buying Used Jigsaw Puzzles & Where to Find Them

Buying used puzzles has its pros and cons. Yes, you can definitely find some great deals! Unfortunately, you can also sometimes get puzzles that are missing pieces.

I always tease that my idea of a wild and exciting Friday night is to put together a thrift store puzzle. You never know if all the pieces will be there!

All kidding aside, I love shopping for puzzles at flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales. Yes, occasionally you will get a puzzle that doesn’t have all the pieces…but the number of great bargains always outweighs that risk for me.

In this post I’ll share my top favorite sources for buying used jigsaw puzzles and share some tips for how to buy a good one used and how to determine whether all the pieces are there before you start assembling it.

My Favorite Places to Buy Used Puzzles

1. Church Flea Markets & Rummage Sales

Church flea markets are my favorite source for finding used puzzles in good condition. Usually I can find them there for only 50 cents each.

Some of my favorite church flea market finds include the older Milton Bradley Charles Wysocki puzzles, Ravensburger puzzles and this 750 piece Buffalo Games Puzzle of a castle.

Most of the puzzles I find there are in great shape and usually they have all of their pieces. Many of the puzzles I’ve found are still sealed new in the box!

2. Goodwill Stores

Goodwill has recently raised a lot of their prices, so they aren’t my favorite place to shop anymore – but you can stumble across some good ones there from time to time.

I often see some great hard-to-find-in-regular-stores name brands at Goodwill, including Eurographics, Ravensburger, and Springbok.

If you have a Goodwill Outlet store near you, this can be a little bit of a better place to find them cheap because everything is sold by the pound.

The downfall of the outlet stores is is also more likely you will find them with missing pieces, especially since the shopping experience can be a bit chaotic. It’s not uncommon to find a puzzle box, and all the pieces spilled everywhere all over the bottom of the bin.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is always a good source for finding used jigsaw puzzles, and sometimes you can even find people willing to swap for different puzzles.

I usually just type in “jigsaw puzzle” or “jigsaw puzzles” in the search box on the left side of the page. I don’t always find a ton of puzzles this way, but you can sometimes find some great bargains!

4. Facebook Groups & Marketplace

If you are on Facebook, you’re probably aware they rolled out a whole marketplace feature where you can search for things for sale.

Look at all of these that showed up when I typed in “jigsaw puzzles” today- and that’s just the first six that I could see on the page without scrolling down.

Lots of great puzzles for sale near the Pittsburgh area today!

One of the things I like about the marketplace is they sort listings by distance nearest to you. This makes it easy to see how far you may have to drive to meet up with a potential buyer.

5. eBay

If you’re buying puzzles online, of course eBay should be one of your first places to look! This is also a great place to find rare and collectible vintage puzzles that may no longer still be in print by the manufacturer.

Here’s a preview of what is currently available on eBay:

You can also find some major bargains if you search for “Jigsaw Puzzle Lot” in the search box. This is a great way to get multiple puzzles for what you’d normally pay for just one, and you can save on shipping costs!

6. Amazon

Amazon is definitely my #1 favorite place to buy new puzzles, but did you know they also sell used puzzles?

This method usually works best if you know of a specific manufacturer or puzzle theme you want to buy. Find the listing for the puzzle, and then click on the link under the description that says “Used & New” to see offers from third-party sellers.

If you do buy a used puzzle from Amazon, it is important to make sure it really is a deal compared to buying one new, especially since you are taking the risk that pieces may be slightly worn or even missing.

7. Garage & Yard Sales

Yard sales and garage sales are usually great places to find puzzles, although it can be hit and miss as to which sales will actually have puzzles!

I usually browse for local yard sales and garage sales online and in free community classified newspapers.

Sites like are also super useful for locating the different yard sales near you!

I’ve found that shopping mid-morning and around noon is usually the best time to find great deals, although there may be less selection, especially if it was a busy sale with a lot of traffic.

8. Offer Up App

OfferUp is an app you can install on your smart phone. It is super easy to find jigsaw puzzles of all shapes and sizes on the app from sellers near you.

One thing I’ve noticed with this app is it does depend where you live on what kind of sellers and variety you might find.

While the app is pretty widespread across major cities, it may be more difficult to find sellers near you if you are in a more rural area where the app is less common.

9. Online Puzzle Swaps

Another good option to explore for inexpensive used puzzles are online puzzle swaps.

The JigsawPuzzleSwapExchange website is one example of a website that has an established system for organizing puzzle swaps between members.

Now that we’ve explored some of my favorite places to find used puzzles for a great deal, I wanted to share some tips for what to look for when buying a used puzzle so you can increase your odds for getting a puzzle with all of its pieces.

Tips for Buying Used Puzzles

If you follow these tips for buying used puzzles, you can help increase your odds for finding used puzzles that aren’t missing any pieces!

1. Buy Unopened Puzzles That Are Still Sealed by The Manufacturer

A lot of times you can find used puzzles that are still sealed in the box as if they were brand new. The box may be dusty because it was buried in the owner’s game closet for a few years, but usually these puzzles will have all their original pieces intact.

Unopened puzzles will typically have markings on the bottom of the box, or if you do open up the lid you may even notice the pieces are still sealed in a plastic bag by the manufacturer.

2. Consider the Age & Condition

We are kind of spoiled today by the high quality puzzles available on the market. Some older puzzles can be extremely difficult to put together, especially if the pieces are low-quality.

Another thing to consider with the older vintage puzzles is that print and photograph quality was not exactly high-def in the 1970’s and 1980’s like it is today!

If high quality pieces and crisp resolution graphics are important to you, it’s probably a good idea to stick with used puzzles that were manufactured in more recent years.

3. Always Practice Safe Online Buying & Selling!

Most people selling online are safe, honest, real people – but there are always a few bad rotten apples out there.

If you are buying something from Facebook or Craigslist, it’s a good idea to meet the person in a well-lit public place, such as a library, grocery store, or community center.

Many police departments and township buildings now offer a safe place for buyers to meet that also have security cameras in place to ensure safety for both buyer and seller.

4. Count the Pieces Before You Start

I never thought about counting all of the pieces before starting a puzzle {especially for the 1,000 piece ones!} – but now it’s almost a standard practice I do before I attempt to assemble them.

It’s the saddest feeling ever for every avid jigsaw puzzle enthusiast when you have a beautiful puzzle that’s missing one piece.

I’ve found the easiest way to count pieces is to count in small amounts, such as a group of 50 pieces in different puzzle sorting trays or even plastic bowls. This makes it much easier to make sure you don’t lose track.

5. Have a Backup Plan for What to Do With Incomplete Puzzles

Used Puzzle with damaged or missing pieces happens. If you are buying a used puzzle, it’s not always possible to get a refund – sometimes not even worth getting one, especially if the puzzle only cost 50 cents!

I like to use old puzzle pieces for different crafts and DIY decor projects. You can use old puzzle pieces to decorate a photo frame, or even take the missing puzzle pieces to create a unique piece of art.

It can be frustrating or disappointing to buy a puzzle that is missing pieces, but if you have a backup plan for what to do with it, you won’t be nearly as upset – you’ll just have some more extra craft supplies than you anticipated!

I hope this list of places to shop for used puzzles is helpful for you – and with these tips I’m sure you will be able to find some good ones!

And yes, maybe it’s risky and wild to consider buying a used open box puzzle – but I guess that’s why I’m called the Crazy Puzzle Lady. 🙂

Have you bought any used puzzles? What were your experiences? Share your favorite places for buying used puzzles and tips for choosing good ones in the comments section below!

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  1. I have many good-quality jigsaw puzzles mwith all their pieces that I must unload because we’ve moved to a smaller residence and have no room to store them. I’d like them to go to a good home where theyd be appreciated. I would be happy to ship them to anyone who would be willing to defray some or all of the shipping costs. Know of any person or group that would be interested?

    1. Hi Joyce! You might want to check with local libraries and groups near you or you can always list them for sale on local marketplace sites like Facebook or Craigslist. Sadly shipping costs can sometimes be very expensive. Fortunately it is usually pretty easy to find someone willing to take them!

    2. Hi,
      I am afraid this reply is too late for your moving away puzzle shipping cost offer to receive your used puzzles.
      If not, I am willing to take on.

  2. Some of the big names in jigsaw puzzles like clemontoni tell u not to count the pieces before you do the puzzle as the number on the box is just a guide line as to how many are in the box….
    I have been buying and selling Puzzles on line for over 3 yes and have a lot of regular customers because we check all our Puzzles by hand before we sell and we seal the boxes . We post to almost any destination. We are listed on Facebook under our own site .

  3. Hi there
    A friend has loaned me her deceased mums jigsaws
    Unfortunately there isnt any illustrations of the finished puzzel!!
    I have managed to finish one,but this next one is killing me!!
    Any suggestions??
    I have found Alice and the rabbit..and alot of the border…
    My friend is 70,so i wonder what vintage the puzzel is?
    There is only 141 pieces and they are wooden


    Joyce in Australia

    1. Hi Joyce,
      Are there any clues as to who the artist or manufacturer of the puzzle may be?

  4. Hello,
    My sister was in an accident 2 years ago & has since taken up puzzling, she started at 60 pieces & will soon be on 1000. I’m desperately looking for cheap, quality puzzles, as she prefers bigger size pieces. If anyone has any to sell I’d love to buy them. I’m in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Thanks, Suzanne

    1. Hi suzanne, i have over many years collected about 200 jig saw puzzles that i need to get rid of due to the fact that they are taking up a whole lot of space in my home. Tried selling them on line but little response. I wanted to sell them for $1 each. They are all complete and have been put together once. Most are 300 piece, over-sized and the thickness is very much better than the average. Some are 500 pieces. But all are large sized pieces. I live in phoenix so this is probably a no go but just thought i would check with you and see if you are interested.

    2. Hi Suzanne. I don’t know if this is too late for a reply but I have many beautiful puzzles that I could send to you, for your sister.Please let me know if you are interested.

      Thank you,
      Margaret Lambert

  5. I’m so sad.. I completed 1000 piece puzzle and two pieces are missing.. it’s a beautiful Ravensberger ( Bizarre Bookshop). It was brand new so the pieces are probably long lost..

  6. I’m just beginning to look for puzzles for my 95 year old father. Do you have more information on how puzzle swap/exchange sites work?
    Thank you.

  7. Hi,
    I find puzzles for $1.00 at some libraries near me. There is also a puzzle trading location through Puzzle Republic in Manhattan Beach, California.
    It works like a lending library, but it has puzzles.
    I can also sometimes find new and reasonably priced puzzles at Savers Thrift Store. I you make a donation, you receive a 20% of coupon that you can use the same day.

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