A vintage chess set is a set of chess pieces that was produced and sold in the past, and is now considered to be collectible due to its age and rarity. These sets can range in age from several decades to hundreds of years old. They can be made from a variety of materials including wood, ivory, bone, metal, and even glass. Vintage chess sets can come in a variety of designs and styles, some of which are based on traditional or historic designs, while others may have unique or unusual features. Many collectors and chess enthusiasts enjoy collecting vintage chess sets as a hobby or as an investment, and some sets can be quite valuable. The value of a vintage chess set can depend on a number of factors, including its age, rarity, condition, materials, and historical significance. What are the best vintage chess sets?
1. The Isle of Lewis Chess Set
The Isle of Lewis Chess Set is a historic and unique chess set that was discovered in the 19th century on the Isle of Lewis, a small island off the coast of Scotland. The set is believed to have been created in the 12th century and is one of the oldest and most famous surviving chess sets in the world.
The set consists of 78 pieces, including 67 chess pieces and 11 pieces from another game called “hnefatafl”. The chess pieces are intricately carved from walrus ivory and depict figures from Norse mythology, including kings, queens, bishops, knights, and pawns. The hnefatafl pieces are also carved from walrus ivory and are smaller and less detailed than the chess pieces.
The Isle of Lewis Chess Set is considered a national treasure of Scotland and is currently housed in the British Museum in London. Replicas of the set are available for purchase, and the set has become a popular collector’s item among chess enthusiasts and history buffs. The unique and intricate carvings on the pieces, combined with their historic significance, make the Isle of Lewis Chess Set one of the most famous and valuable vintage chess sets in the world. The best vintage chess set for me!
2. The Jaques Staunton Chess Set
The Jaques Staunton Chess Set is a classic and iconic design of chess pieces that was created in 1849 by Nathaniel Cook and John Jaques. The set is named after Howard Staunton, a popular chess player of the time who endorsed the design and used it in his matches. The Jaques Staunton Chess Set has since become the standard for tournament play and is still used in official competitions to this day.
The design features a set of 32 chess pieces, with each side having a king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and eight pawns. The pieces are made from high-quality materials, such as ebony and ivory, and have a balanced and elegant look. The king stands at 3.5 inches tall, and the other pieces are proportionately sized.
The popularity of the Jaques Staunton Chess Set has led to many replicas and variations of the design being produced over the years. However, original antique sets are highly sought after by collectors and can be quite valuable. The timeless and classic design of the Jaques Staunton Chess Set, combined with its historical significance and use in official competitions, make it one of the most famous and iconic vintage chess sets in the world.
3. The French Regence Chess Set
The French Regence Chess Set is a historic and ornate chess set that was first produced in the late 17th century in France. The set is named after the Regency period in France (1715-1723) and was popular among French nobility during this time.
The French Regence Chess Set features intricately carved pieces with a distinctively French style. The pieces are often made from high-quality materials such as ivory or bone and are characterized by their elegant curves and ornate details. The king and queen pieces are often the most ornate, with intricate crowns and fine details on their robes.
The popularity of the French Regence Chess Set led to many replicas being produced over the years, and the design remains a popular choice among collectors and chess enthusiasts. The set is known for its beauty and grace and is often displayed as a work of art in addition to being used for play.
Today, original French Regence Chess Sets are highly valued by collectors and can be found in museums and private collections around the world. The historic and artistic significance of the French Regence Chess Set make it one of the most famous and desirable vintage chess sets.
4. The Russian Zagreb Chess Set
The Russian Zagreb Chess Set is a vintage chess set that was first produced in Zagreb, Croatia, in the early 20th century. The design is characterized by its distinctive and intricate details, which have made it a popular choice among collectors and chess enthusiasts.
The pieces of the Russian Zagreb Chess Set are typically made from wood or ivory, and the design features a traditional Staunton style with a few unique twists. For example, the knights are depicted with flowing manes and tails, and the bishops have distinctive miters on their heads. The king and queen pieces are also quite ornate, with detailed crowns and robes.
The Russian Zagreb Chess Set became popular among chess enthusiasts in Russia and Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, and many high-quality sets were produced during this time. Today, original Russian Zagreb Chess Sets are highly valued by collectors, and reproductions of the set are still being produced.
The unique and intricate design of the Russian Zagreb Chess Set, combined with its historical significance and popularity among collectors, make it one of the most famous vintage chess sets in the world.
5. The German Barleycorn Chess Set
The German Barleycorn Chess Set is a vintage chess set that originated in Germany in the 19th century. The set is named after the design of the pawns, which are shaped like barleycorns.
The German Barleycorn Chess Set is a simple and traditional design that features a Staunton-style set of pieces made from wood, bone, or ivory. The pieces are characterized by their classic and understated look, with a small knob on top of the king and queen pieces and a distinctive design for the knight pieces.
Despite its simplicity, the German Barleycorn Chess Set has remained a popular choice among chess enthusiasts and collectors. The set is often sought after for its traditional and classic style, as well as its historical significance as a vintage chess set.
Today, original German Barleycorn Chess Sets are highly valued by collectors, and reproductions of the set are still being produced. The timeless design of the German Barleycorn Chess Set, combined with its historical significance and popularity among collectors, make it one of the most famous and sought-after vintage chess sets in the world.
6. The Indian Chaturanga Chess Set
The Indian Chaturanga Chess Set is a historic chess set that originated in ancient India around the 6th century AD. The design of the pieces is based on the four branches of the Indian army: elephants, chariots, horsemen, and foot soldiers.
The pieces of the Indian Chaturanga Chess Set are typically made from materials such as ivory, bone, or wood, and the design features a distinctively Indian style. The king and queen pieces are depicted as elephants, while the chariot pieces are depicted as chariots or war chariots. The horsemen are represented by horse figures, and the foot soldiers are often depicted as simple cylinders or blocks.
The Indian Chaturanga Chess Set is known for its historical significance as the predecessor of the modern game of chess. The game of chaturanga was played in ancient India and eventually evolved into the game of chess that is played today. The Indian Chaturanga Chess Set is a fascinating piece of history that showcases the evolution of the game of chess over time.
Today, original Indian Chaturanga Chess Sets are rare and highly valued by collectors. Reproductions of the set are also available and are popular among chess enthusiasts who appreciate the historic significance and unique design of the set.