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Subject: Identifying, valuing, dating a chess set. rss

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Mary Megrant
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I thrifted a chess set for $10 last week. I would like to figure out roughly what I might have. Does anyone have any links about chess sets? Sorry, no camera, but I will try to describe what I see:

It is a wooden case 17.5 inches square. On the top surface and bottom surfaces, the board appears to be a plastic laminate. The chess board on the top surface is 14 inches square, and is a convincing marble pattern. There are also borders that appear to have been applied as a tape (Rather than designed as part of the laminate) These are a combination of an irridescent or pearly pastel colors and black. It seems that the squares were outlined in metalic paint, which has since worn off.

The hinges are designed so that the top is removable, and there is a fabric and leather or leather-like backgammon board on the revese side of the lid.

The bottom of the case is compartmentalized, and lined with a thin green corded fabric. Two dice cups are covered in a flannelly cloth.

The chess peices are a Japanese theme, though I am not certain. The King is 4 inches tall. I am not sure of the material of the peices. They are solid black or ivory in color and quite ornate and detailed, and could not have come out of a rigid mold, because there are undercuts. They are dense, with the sheen of a satin paint, neither matte nor glossy. It the "felt" (It is actually a woven fabric.) is peeled off the bottom,the surface is rough, and looks like it may have been sanded to smooth it out. It reminds me of an epoxy putty I have used to make household repairs. The backgammon peices are orage and ivory colored discs, and I can't really tell if they are the same substance as the chess men. They seem a little more matte, but they are very plain, 1/4 inch thick discs. (Though I am missing some of these).

Chnces are it is not valuable, but it would be nice to know more about it. Besides, some idoit made a cigarette burn on the top of the case. (The kind you leave when the cigarette is just resting on a surface.)

Thanks,
Mary
 
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Steve R Bullock
United States
Palm Coast
Florida
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Without a picture it is hard to say. I have a chess set similar to what you describe, but ONLY the chess set. I think I have seen your set or one like it on EBAY. You got a very good deal for 10 bucks. I will guess on EBAY you could not touch it for less than 50-80 bucks. Hope this helps. steve
 
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Mary Megrant
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I was hoping there was some sort of chess piece gallery.

I was hoping to avoid the randomness of searching E-bay, and since it was thrifted, I have no idea if the material is one that is still used for chess sets. And a vintage set for sale might have an owner as clueless as I am.

First of all, I don't even know what the material is. It somehow feels porous, like bone, this could be the surface texture, but I can tell that the material was not liquid when molded, because of the uneven texture of the bottom surface.

Secondly, I would like to identify if it were made for a "Western" market. My guess is that an Oriental designer and a Western designer would represent certain elements differently. (In fact, right now there is a controversy going on in Portland. Over a stutue depicting a wok and a dragon. The Chinese community is very upset, because the wok is overturned, and it is "unlucky." I hate to use that word, because luck is a much more complex idea to the Chinese.)

I guess I now have an excuse to waste time on E-bay. If I were to have, say a $150 set, I think I would like to cash in on it.

The funny thing is that the week before I almost bought an incomplete Pressman set, missing many peices, because I liked the art. It was elongated heads of soldiers. The wooden travel box was in very bad shape, with many dents in the wood. I am so glad that I passed up the other set. Is this set a 'message' to go after what I really want, and not settle for less? (Like a nice digital camera. LOL!)

Mary

 
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Mary Megrant
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Details of figure design.
The King and queen are seated in thrones. The knights are archers seated on rearing horses. Many peices have a dragon encircling the feet of the peice, even the pawns. This surprises me, since dragons represent imperial power in China. But it may not be a contradiction, because the army is ruled by the emperor.

Mary
 
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Mary Megrant
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I could not find one like mine on Ebay in the current listings. However, there is a CD ROM sold at the Chess Collectors International web site, called a Blue Book with values. I will work on getting a photo to post, and maybe I can get someone to look it up for me in this resource. Perhaps it is availabl;e at a library.

Mary
 
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