This is an usually large bone Staunton , purchased on Ebay about 8 years ago from antique chess shop.com, with a 10 cm king in a competitive auction I sneaked home in …. phew!, as I badly wanted this set. The bovine bone just might have suited Howard Staunton. We don’t know if the great man had a fierce-looking bulldog called Brutusaur that delighted in biting people. Staunton might have visited the Smithfield meat market for some decent bone, and his dog then ate every scrap of remaining meat and licked off the remaining blood – pssst …. mum = ‘made up mince’, i.e. don’t believe a word of this nonsense re the dog! So he took the pristine clean bone to a decent turner and requested a chess set from this supplied material, so this just might explain why the set is so clean looking – not even a % of elephant here!
A CCI chess collector pal (not Russian!) suggested this set was Chinese, but CCI member Michael Mark in his research noted that there is a significant difference between the screw threads between English bone/ivory from Chinese sets. Talking of the coming sale of ivory ban, there is a decent publication which does a pretty decent job in covering ivory By CCI member Tomas Gallegos:- ‘Ivory at a glance – what to look for in ivory and related materials – a field guide for Antique & Art collectors’. Prepared for members of Chess Collectors International (CCI) October 2005 this publication should be made available to the customs ‘Ivory Police’ who just might eliminate a 40ft container of issues related to the issue of ‘what is Ivory?’ So instead of persecuting the innocent collectors perhaps some common sense might be used around this issue in the near future. A study of a host of sources of selling outlets pretty much sums up the foreseeable problems looming with over zealous types who don’t have sufficient knowledge of exactly what material so many chess sets are made of.