A late 19th century English St George Staunton chess set

This delightful antique set was purchased on Ebay via an auction for the homeless. The scarce-looking set was purchased with substantial damage, no missing pieces, with its original box absent. The Ebay seller ‘Stonepillowrestore’ offered this collectable set in a more than fair-minded manner, but the upfront clear photos of the damage and description were excellent. So I had a go at fixing the set up, with moderate success.

The pieces being weighted added to the collectable’s attraction, the king being 6.5 cms in height. I asked my daughter, Sinead, what do you think of the set? Her reply was ‘I like the knights’, so she received a quality chocolate biscuit for observation. I have no idea who made this set, but a very experienced collector suggested that it might be a Jaques, but having studied the available images of the Jaques pattern surviving pages, finding convincing evidence was none to easy, so this set is what it is – ‘maker unknown’.

The idea of a charity auctioning collectable chess sets off for a worthy cause has great merit – what a great pity that the coming sale of ivory ban would prevent the selling of ivory chess sets to raise funds to prevent poaching, as one can speculate that the cost of protecting wild life must be taxing without any extra aid. As a collector who has about a dozen or so ivory items, would I be willing to donate some of my ivory items to a cause to fund creating an ivory poaching preventative police force? Yes, I would be willing to do this, if only to send a signal which means that we collectors do care about wild life.

Asking for sympathy, some collectors more than deserve this in my humble opinion, however it is also my opinion that rather than focus on being victims of the forthcoming ban, collectors could equally think of initiatives to help the cause. When one views on TV programmes like the Antiques Roadshow, there is huge emphasis on the value of owned collectables, but this coming ban has knocked the stuffing out of some passionate collectors.


Posted on

June 26, 2020

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