Some weeks ago I saw a curious-looking Staunton chess set on Ebay and won it, and saw on the box’s underside it is touchingly inscribed in pencil ‘November 7th 1885 from Papa‘. I already had in my collection a larger version of the same set, but with no original box which I had forgotten about. The larger sets’ king is 8.5 cms, base 3cms, and the smaller one has a king size of 6cms with a base 2.75 cms. When I compared both sets it was very pleasing to myself as a collector to note that both sets were identical bar the rooks, as the smaller set’s rooks have 4 crenellations but the larger 5, the points on the queens’ crowns were close to 20 in number, with the larger gifted set having a polished finish – the bishops have shallow mitre cuts. My best guess (because of the knights) is that both sets might be French, but the dating just might be correct? Who knows re this guesswork of mine, as anyone could have written that on the box’s underside at any time. Some years ago someone in a private chess collector group admitted that when he saw a famous collection he almost felt like giving up, however for some of us collecting is not a competition (which is a great blessing), and it is quirky little sets like that lathe polished set that put a twinkle in my eyes. The squat/dumpy kings and queens remind me of looking at myself as a kid in the magic mirrors in amusement centres as my body shape went nuts! – along with my brothers and sisters I laughed non stop at ourselves – probably a good thing in preparation for us in later years! Having these interesting small sets is a delight, and if one keeps an eye out for such treasures one can pick some right interesting stuff for minimal cost which is very satisfying indeed. I reckon if I was able to view every collector’s treasure out there I would see many delightful items so having sets one adores simply has to be a wonderful thing.