Late 19th century Chinese Staunton chess set

Late 19th century Chinese Staunton chess set

This delicate Staunton set was purchased recently on the Bay.  I believe this set to have been of Chinese origin – why? CCI researcher Michael Mark advises in his findings on far eastern sets to study the screw threads, as they tend to be shorter than British ones, plus the lovely box resembled one I have seen before. A good question, as the knights are far from classy looking, but don’t look British, German, or French. What attracted me to this set was that the seller offered the item with its original box, and when handled the delicate looking chessmen might have been made for a lady, the king being 7.5 cm with the red stain in great condition. The only issues with this set and box were none too serious, a ‘BGC’ = a big clamp and PVA glue did the job, but the white queen’s ball final was missing, so a ‘HAWJ’ was necessary – a Husband and Wife Job, plus my wife’s electric file for shaping her nails did the trick.

This time-consuming work made me appreciate even more the talents of capable restorers. Bone is tough stuff, if you want to know more about this material asking a lion, or a tiger will do nicely! Collectors will notice that some piece sections have been unscrewed, and it is very advisable to memorise which sections belong to each piece, or else trying to assemble the pieces can lead to damaging the threads. The interesting thing about this scarce looking set (never seen another one) is that Chinese bone Stauntons appear rather scarce when one notes the number of ivory Stauntons that appear for sale, I like the slender tapered shanks on the kings, queens, bishops and pawns, and the ugly looking knights are just fine as I like ugly – personal taste counts for a lot, but being too choosy can lead lead to getting nothing!

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