Early 20th century travel chess set

This delightful coffee house style in box/ebonised wood pegged travel set with a 3cms king was a recent ‘fresh meat’ purchase. The seller on Ebay (valerie68241816) went out of her way to post quickly and packed the item very well:-

‘Vintage Wooden Travelling Chess Set. Folding. Size is 6 1/2” x 6 1/2”. A little warped but original hinges and clasp’.

A very fair-minded description as my dating is a guess, so I have housed this little set on a genuine antique peg- holed English board. I believe this item originates from central Europe – possibly Austria, Germany or Czechoslovakia as it was then known.

Unlike a recent experience, where the utter contempt for a buyer shown by a seller (taking ages to ship plus sent a stone board in a black refuse bag and the item arrived smashed to bits from seller ‘prettypollyvintage’). My best guess is that the realised price was too low for her, and over the years on a few occasions this type of service has resulted. I was furious that a so-called seller could offer the worst service I have ever received on Ebay, but the fully deserved negative feedback comment from me was removed by Ebay?? As a buyer I try very hard to show appreciation to sellers who offer a decent service and description. This type of censorship hurts buyers and it needs addressing quickly – talk of protecting the guilty – as seller commission seems to be a governing factor in this twisted and cynical Ebay feedback policy and it smacks of Big Brother at work. How can one trust feedback ratings when this happens?!

This (what appears to be a rather scarce item) came with a damaged but a very well photographed board, so I substituted the original board with a genuine antique English board to house this little treasure. I believe when an original item is split for practical reasons it is important to document this action, as we collectors are the custodians of chess collectable research. My very observant wife Pauline noticed a difference between the kings but one can allow for ‘turner’s licence‘- a term by the late Garrick Coleman I like used on occasion to describe any anomaly with chessmen.


Posted on

June 17, 2020

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