A late 19th century German toy chess set

This set is known as a German toy set – many thanks to a fellow CCI member in assisting me in confirming the set’s origin:-

Your set is definitely one of the very many Erzgebirge “Toy Sets” from the third quarter of the 19th C. From what it says in the CCI booklet, there were a large number of variations on the basic theme of which I am sure yours is one. The CCI booklet only gives a selection of the sets‘.

The CCI publication, “Chess Sets from the Erzebirge, by Dr Marion Faber Jens Frieder Mukke/Dr Thomas H Thomsen”, is a most useful aid for looking into German chess sets. When I purchased this set from a Ebay hospice seller a late bidder cost me money -ouch!-,  but at least the cash ends up helping the needy so no matter.  These sets don’t pop up every day on Ebay, so as usual there are always predators about! What is remarkable is just how delicate these toy sets are, with a 10 cms king, however this set has no original box. How does one find out the origin of some chessmen? For a start Google photos is a very useful aid, but if the set has no easily identifiable images there then a well informed CCI member will often be of assistance to the curious collector. Here is useful info for fellow collectors:-

Toy Sets – Welcome to the Chess Museum (chess-museum.com)

This set is so light that a few grams will suffice in weight calculation, and all the more amazing that some survive intact if given to children. Collector health warning:- don’t ever let a dog near these delicate pieces or else he will rip through these pieces like potato crisps! I’ve heard of fruit wood, lime wood and soft wood being used to make these type of toy sets – one wonders just how many substances have not been used for chessmen, and trying to name just ten is none too easy.


Posted on

March 28, 2021

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