Antique Dexter’s pocket wallet chess set

I saw this wallet for sale on a stall for £15, so having a quick glance I bought the item then later noticed two crude replacement pieces. Well well, tough luck – greed is sometimes good, as there are ways of dealing with this issue.
Still the sum spent would hardly bankrupt myself, but even with this common issue one can take a painkilling
tablet with a tidy looking resolution.

I have spent hours and more looking at a host of these pocket chess sets and noted on many that the celluloid pieces are interchangeable on some sets, however crude drawing of the chess piece symbols simply wont work. The use of a photocopier is therefore very handy when one has any spare pieces of celluloid chessmen which have genuine antique content, then having with care cut out a copied piece, and using a suitable glue for paper, attach the copied symbol on to the spare. I did this and sold such a wallet on eBay to a well known and widely respected collector by explaining exactly what I did on my listing plus I received decent looking feedback.

These pocket wallet set are far from rare as quite a few have survived, and the Dexter I purchased was a bargain
based upon past eBay prices. These sets were advertised in the Chess Amateur in the early 1900’s with celluloid men which are easily lost in a wallet made of quality Moroccan leather, plus mine was in excellent condition. Even funnier is that the seller bought the item at auction plus inside the wallet was a note that said ‘two pieces missing‘, so we exchanged smiles and I went home happy. These sets were retailed in quantity by Thomas De La Rue in the late 19th century.  However since the slots in a number of these wallets have similar sizes it is best
to check the symbols of every piece on the wallet board, as some pocket set pieces will fit in rather nicely.
I have seen some wallets sell on the Bay for in excess of £50.00.

There is a useful site where fellow collectors discuss the merits of these collectables – on forums. Much as I like these collectables they are fun to have. On reflection it is the greatest pity that Google closed the public Picasa albums as the quality and reliability of the information offered was by far and away the best I have ever seen – why???? Perhaps so many collectables shown there were not worth that much that some of the top researchers were none too bothered to do such work.  Sometimes the Hobbits of the chess collecting world can be ignored hence never question what is published – in my humble opinion complete nonsense. Mistakes are easily made and  if any collector spots one that might mislead any fellow enthusiast, then please contact me to rectify any errors which might help others since we are all human!


Posted on

May 3, 2020

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