A small English pattern chess set circa 1825-50

This recent ‘fresh meat’ purchase was a frenzied auction as a single bidder threw in his kitchen sink with some 19 bids out of 40 in a vain attempt to win this desirable looking set turned in rosewood/boxwood. The dating is guesswork, as if it was as early as some bidders might have thought, the turning variance is absent for an early 18th century set. Also the slide lid box the set came with looks later to me, and sometimes one has to use one’s gut feeling. The minimalist listing was more than adequate to get a host of interested parties. No need for invented fairy tales to enchant lookers in the listing. Even with a 6.5 cms king this set was never going to be a cheap one. For the curious:-

Old Wooden Chess Set | eBay

The one piece/mono block knights was something I missed when looking at the listing over 30 times – one can never look enough, and it looks as if I need new Specsavers glasses! Knowing how much to bid is a tricky business as if one goes ape with a monster bid, a Jap style Kamikaze bid can be a danger to one’s purse, but the alternative is bleak – if a dealer wins it, then 4 to 5 times the auction selling price seems to be normal. So I guess getting it right is none too easy. Nice looking sets like this rarely appear on the Bay however, so the watchers who wait on the phone wires like Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’, twitching as the auction has but seconds to go then the bidding frenzy starts. If the set is good then the excitement offers the winner a real buzz, but even better is when the set matches up to your expectation.


Posted on

September 6, 2021

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