Chess enthusiasts and passionate collectors will have the opportunity to bid for an impressive number of chess sets at an upcoming auction by Christie’s. The iconic fine arts auction house will hold its South Kensington’s Style & Spirit sale on March 26, when it will offer 58 lots, each one remarkable in a unique way.
The cases and the pieces themselves are crafted from a variety of materials in many different styles. You can find everything from minimalist modern pawns and queens to incredibly intricate lace-like kings and rooks. Wood, bone, ivory, silver and amber are some of the various materials used for these chess sets. They come from all over the world, from as far as China, India, Cambodia and Russia. European sets are also on the list, of course.
The sale will take place in London, where the lots are expected to fetch between £300 and £25,000 (approx. $450 and $37,800) per set. One of the most expensive items is a beautiful limited edition silver set by Man Ray, a fabled artist from the Surrealist and Dada era of the 20th century. This set is estimated to go for £10,000 – £15,000 (about $15,000 – $22,600).
So which is the item that is expected to get as much as £25,000? An absolutely stunning lot with pieces carved of ivory. Each piece is an individual work of miniature art with lace-inspired details. The chess set originated from the 19th century Berhampur area near Calcutta. Berhampur was famous for its skilled craftsmen and this set very clearly shows why.