It is generally acknowledged that some of the very finest Chess Sets ever made, were those made by Jaques of London and of these, the ‘crème de la crème’, and therefore very rare, are the Deluxe Club Chess sets containing a set of Staunton Ivory Chessmen. In fact we can confidently state that to the best of our knowledge there is not another one of the same quality for sale anywhere in the world at present. Our assessment of its rarity and value is supported by the Certificate of Authenticity issued by Joe Jaques, of Jaques of London (see this certificate, reproduced at the end of this presentation)
According to an advertisement in the Illustrated London News dated September 8, 1849, the first Jaques Staunton pattern sets were available in the finest African ivory (5 guineas)”. We can date this set to circa 1852 so it is a rare survivor and in excellent condition, considering its age.
This superb set of vintage Staunton Chessmen is contained within a Spanish Mahogany box with brass bound round edges, brass campaign handles and brass inlaid cartouche to lid and lock signed, BRAMAH with its original key.
The interior is lined with dark blue velvet and each set of chessmen are fitted into two ‘lift-out’ velvet plush lined trays.
The quality of this box is such that it was probably made by one of the leading retailers in London, such as Aspreys.
Affixed to the inside of the leather lined lid is a red label which reads as follows:-
THE STAUNTON CHESS-MEN
Registered No. 58,607 5&6 Vict. Cap. 100
Entered No. 3255
N.B. the H. Staunton signature at this date is a facsimile and not hand signed.
Red labels were numbered from 3000 to 3999 and used between the dates 1852 to 1856 from which we can date this set.
The Jaques Staunton Chessmen conform to all the features one would expect to find on pieces of this date which are as follows:-
The King’s crosses are removable.
The knights are in two pieces so that the head and the base are screwed together.
The symbol of a king’s crown is affixed to the summits of the kingside rooks and knights. (Jacques were the first chess set manufacturer to do this)
Jaques London is imprinted on the base of the underside of the white king (after 1890 it is also imprinted on the red king) therefore dating this set to pre-1890 i.e Circa 1852.
Each chessman in a Jaques set, sold during the first three years of production had a small green paper disc affixed to the base of the pieces. (The majority of these pieces still have their green label)
This disc bore a registration mark consisting of a small diamond which identified the day, month and year the design was registered, the class and a parcel number.
The height of the King: 4⅜ inches
Dimensions of mahogany box: 14 x 10 x 6 inches
In conclusion it is worth mentioning that there is an international network of chess collectors who tend to pass sets between themselves so the best sets are rarely available on the open market and are rarely seen at auction.
For more information as to how to view this exceptional Chess Set, please contact Robert Jarman at email@example.com or telephone +00 44 (0) 1962 793134
N.B. This rare Chess Set has been appraised by Jaques of London and Mr. Joe Jaques has issued this Certificate of Authenticity and Valuation :-
Important Notice on the export of antique elephant ivory (CITES) Please note that as the chess set contains antique elephant ivory it will require a CITES export licence to export to destinations outside the European Union. Due to recent US legislation, it is with regret that we are unable to export this item to the United States of America.
Further images of the Deluxe club Staunton Chess Set by J. Jaques, London:–
Chrissy Jarman studied at Southampton University where she gained a degree in Fine Art Valuation and worked for 16 years at Gerald Marsh Antique Clocks in Winchester, now known as Carter Marsh.
Following her departure from Carter Marsh she has been instrumental in the launch of The Vintage Magazine and the design of its website. As well as being a contributing author she is the Features Editor of the magazine with special responsibility for Arts and Culture.
Christine attends many of the most important international Fine Art and Antique Fairs, including Masterpiece, and Frieze.