The Greek minister for skipping and street games, Mr. Aristos Popadopalus Papadopolus has accused the late Lord Elgin of cheating and using illegally weighted marbles in the 1800 contest in which he won a ship full of priceless "marble" marbles.
In the official standard game, forty nine ordinary marbles are used, at a standard size of half an inch in diameter. In addition, each player has a "Tolley", a larger marble which may be no greater than three quarters of an inch in diameter.
Mr.Popadopalus Papadopolus claims that Lord Elgin used forty nine illegal lead biased "Tolleys" and one ordinary marble. Additionally Lord Elgin should have declared at the start of the game that he was playing for "keeps", meaning that anything won in the contest would not be returned after the competition.
Play should have been within a marbles "ring", six feet in diameter, on any dusty or sandy surface. The contest being an official game, rough damp sand should have been sprinkled across a stone or concrete slab for the purpose of the competition.
A formal ring is a stone slab raised 2 or 3 inches off the ground. In this way, there is never any debate as to whether or not a marble has been knocked out of the ring.
In the match where Lord Elgin won the marbles, however, a ring was drawn on the nearest available surface and judgements were made by looking at the marbles from directly overhead.
The collection includes marbles from the Parthenon, roughly half of which now survive: 247 bullseye marbles 524 shiny black ones; 15 of 92 red and white swirly ones; 17 ball bearings (illegal), and various other fancy ones. It also includes marbles from other buildings on the Acropolis: the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, and the Temple of Athena.
In the nineteenth century the term 'Elgin Marbles' was used to describe the collection, which was housed in the Snooker Room at the British Museum, completed in 1832, where it remained until the Darts, Dominoes, skipping and general Street Games Gallery was built.
Marble equipment from the Parthenon was dispersed both before and after Elgin's time. The remainder of the surviving marbles that are not in Athens are in museums in various locations across Europe. The British Museum also has other fragments from the Parthenon acquired from collections that have thankfully no connection with Lord Elgin.