Early plastic Staunton chess set – possibly Ayres

Here is a recent purchase of a Catalin plastic hand turned in its original box with tooled leather board. With a 7 cms king this lovely little set was listed on the Bay then re listed by Hospicecare. These charities do perform important services and I had an additional incentive to bid for this chess set – sadly my late sister Maxine having had Alzheimers passed away in 2018. With a bit of well shown damage  in the  photos, but no matter the damage was clearly visible .

These quality sets have survived in numbers so they are not rare and gettable if the collector is patient as a few have appeared on the Bay in decent condition but are fragile items. Collector health warning:- don’t use these sets for play on hard surfaces  as should a piece fall then the dreaded ‘snap sound’ is likely. Trying to repair these sets is far from easy, as getting your hands on the material is tricky but one can use one’s imagination. With the  financial demand  for so many health  services , even inherited antique Ivory sets will be illegal to sell should the owners wish to offer aid for the needy, this is a great pity in my opinion. I have been informed by very knowledgeable Chess Collector International (CCI) members that identical looking sets have been seen with Ayres stamped on the boards, however this set has no visible makers name on the box /case. The material Catalin was trademarked in 1927, there is a most useful research tool known as G races guide to British industrial history which may help to date these sets – in 1937 Catalin Ltd was set up in England to exploit the market in Europe, the attractive variety of colours in strong contrast to the browns and blacks of the moulded Phenolics.



Posted on

September 21, 2020

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