Late 19th century unweighted chess set

With a 6cms king this cute small unweighted English set was purchased in a pretty poor state and I had a go at fixing it up, so I guess my luncheon vouchers are on hold. Since this little baby cost a smallish sum by present offerings from sellers for current wooden sets, it just might have been a candidate for the bin – no way, even if the cost of restoration outweighs the set’s value!

This boxwood/ebony set probably came from a compendium, since the holes on the base underside allow for the chessmen to be displayed on the collectable – who the hell cares? – even if I become a laughing stock with the results of my efforts visible here.

This fresh ‘pet set’ will go in my coffin with great relish (my lovely long-suffering wife is under strict instructions to stuff the pieces in all my pockets). I spent a few hours trying to repair 4 pawns – take a wild guess at what the wretched knights must have looked like? – noses hacked off in a past battle, a bishop’s knop fixed up plus a couple of base chips tidied up. I never had the guts to show close-up images of the attempted restoration. The eagle eyed viewer will note the damaged kings crosses were left as they were. To simply abandon old likeable chessmen feels rather sad, and this made the few hours spent rather satisfying. They say ‘the Good Lord loves a trier’/never give up, plus it gave me something to do in the present lockdown.

One of the biggest issue with collectors who buy sets from dealers is should past work be declared by the seller? – it is hard to disagree with this view, even if the selling price needs adjustment, as a happy buyer will always come back.


Posted on

June 16, 2020

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