A Dublin chess set

A recent purchase from Ebay, this auction was a bloody financial battle for the Lyon as the hyenas salivated over this desired fresh meat carcas! The set on the Bay was due to end just before 10am, and a ferocious assault on my bids almost deprived the Lyon of his lunch! – these sets are sought after by collectors, so getting a bargain basement deal is far from easy, plus even with 4 non-matching pawns the price was why perhaps it fetched less than it might have, and better photos might have helped the seller.

With a king height of 8.5 cms, the boxwood and ebony set was purchased with no box. There is a question mark over the precise date of the Dublin pattern’s origin. My reason for doubting the 1850’s dating is the publication on the history of the Dublin Chess Club written by the Rev. Dr. A. A. Luce which makes no mention of the club commissioning Jaques to make sets for the club? Furthermore, a CCI member and researcher, Mick Deasey, sourced an advert from a bookseller called ‘college rhymes’ offering the ‘Dublin, Staunton, plain‘ back in 1867. Bearing this in mind in a chess collector group discussion the well-known CCI researcher Michael Mark offered an opinion that the catalogue pages may well date beyond 1870! For the curious, type into Google and view the recently posted pages of Luce’s book on the history of the club. In the CCI Chess Collector Magazine there have been two good  articles on both the Dublin and upright chessmen, both by Peter Armit and Jonathan Jordan. What is excellent about the CCI is that all members have the right to pose questions and comments on any article written by a member, which is in my opinion excellent, and encourages the writers to research even harder than face tricky questions from interested parties.

Collector health warning:- even with poor photos, check the pawns first then the pieces again and again before placing hefty bids. The most difficult business is replacing the patinated white pieces as colour matching is murder.




Posted on

November 26, 2020

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