De La Rue late 19th century bone stud chess set

Here is a recent ‘Fresh Meat’ treat purchase, a bit of extravagance from The Lyon. This cute little collectable was sold as a ‘J C Vickery product‘, on the Selling Antiques website, but from taking a decent look at Graces guide, one can cast doubt if this famous Regent Street store ever manufactured chess sets, however if such accidental information is to be believed, then a wild goose chase by collector researchers can indeed happen. I was kindly reminded by two very helpful CCI members, Mick Deasey and Peter Armit, that this scarce item was made by Thomas De La Rue. A very small stamp is barely visible on the metal part of the clasp. This information offers clear evidence that the well informed CCI membership can be very much relied upon for accurate information. I would also like to thank Jim Joannou for sourcing the photo of the De La Rue Empire Stud Chess Set advert in the course of his research. This very likeable little treatlet is none too suitable for people with big fingers or claws! Recently an identical looking set was sold on eBay for a fraction of what I paid for mine – tough luck, one cannot win everything, or indeed get a fantastic bargain on each and every purchase. To the best of my knowledge I can state with some confidence that these sets with bone pieces are rather scarce. Why does who made the item matter? Recently, thanks to a USA collector called Ralph, we now know that Benetfink sold chessmen ‘Ayres make’  – well then, just whisper the name Jaques then the selling price jumps like a river salmon, then Calvert, Lund, BCC etc and so on. Some 19th century retailers liked to claim manufacturing status by offering their name. As an excellent example, this piece of nonsense exists on the Dermot  Rochford site – a defaced Jaques king stamp mauled by Leuchars – sheer research vandalism !!! Once this practice is seen then a sceptical view will occur:-


see here for the description of this item:-


Many of us out there want to get it right. Doing so can be construed as having a dig at others, and it would be a pity if some get upset by the correct information. Perhaps on TV programmes like The Antiques Roadshow the vast knowledge of CCI members should be recognised, and thus the title of ‘expert’ is proven to be earned by right rather assumed all due to selling success via the internet.


Posted on

October 29, 2021

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