As a collector I am starting to have serious reservations about the flood of reproductions on the market. I was recently offered this limited edition (20) reproduction set by the esteemed Dr Holger Langer, and was given a pretty decent set of reasons from the enterprising collector re why he created this reproduction – kudos to him.
Why buy a reproduction ? Well, I have two small sets that may have been influenced by Adolf Roegner but have German origin, but they make a fine trio of sets. Holger explained that the title of the set relates to the 1885 Leipzig “Augustea” Klub-Schach because Roegner mentions in the catalogue that he presented the set to an expert committee of the Augustea chess club who found the set to be splendid. This single weighted set has a 10cms king and came with a quality laser etched acacia wood box with ample space for the pieces.
What deeply concerns me are the methods being used to sell these sets by selling agents, and the recent introduction of ‘antiqued’ or ‘distressed’ finishes – also stated on their sales pitches are very misleading, twisted or downright invented history of tournaments that have little historical relevance because they never existed!
So I decided to purchase this limited edition set which is exactly how a reproduction should be created – with great attention to the historical detail but no gimmicks, e.g. two extra queens nonsense, nor a created so-called ‘collector must-have’ feature. As a collector I hate the sight of this practice, and even for free I would never purchase these creations – the wonderful patination on genuine antique wooden sets is history, and as a collector who is recovering from lung cancer courtesy of the NHS, I welcome the historical tobacco influence on these lovely relics of the past!
Yet this set has no historical patination – no matter, because it was created with sincere passion by a genuine collector who studied the history of this set. I really like this set, and it should be a model of how to create a reproduction. The weighting of the chessmen is excellent – certainly not triple weighted/no invented history/no gimmicks like ‘distressed finish’ or two extra queens! (As a kid I just used an upside down rook when promoting a pawn ……..)
When a selling agent tells a collector what he or she desires by creating a ‘Frankenstein’ finish, they create a ‘Dracula’ set, and when compared with real thing, the colour is drained from the collector’s face as if all the blood has been sucked from them by the king of vampires – should the many purchase these creations, well good luck to them!
Many thanks to Holger for allowing the use of his photos!