I have recently purchased a few nice, vintage chess sets and while researching them, I came across what I believe to be some really beautiful sets that have sold at auction over the last few years. I'll start with the ones I bought. First up is this Austin Cox 1962 chess set made from aluminium as a gift from the ALCOA aluminium company given out to their customers.
Next up is this perspex chess set, which can be found online, attributed to Charles Hollis Jones and sometimes referenced using the words 'Vasa chess set', which might be a reference to pop art artist Victor Vasarely. I don't believe either had anything to do with it and for the moment, its designer and maker remain a mystery, but it is, in my opinion, a great looking set.
Now we are in to the sets I can currently only dream about. Next up is this 1924 Josef Hartwig chess set, sold at Phillips De Pury earlier this year for £6800. A lot of money for a chess set, but a seriously beautiful thing to own. I believe there are similar reproductions of this set online for a few hundred euro.
Below we have a brass and chrome 1969 chess set by Francois Colette sold in Wright's auction house in Chicago in 2008 for $2900.
Next up, we have a gorgeous set by Man Ray, commissioned by the Maharajah of Indore in 1926. Only three of these sets were made during Man Ray's lifetime, but a limited edition of ten were released later by the Man Ray trust. I think this is one of the nicest sets I've seen and an amazingly modern and relevant design considering it is 85 years old.
Next, we have a beautiful set by unknown designer/maker that I was recently the under bidder on, sadly for me it was an absentee bid and not a phone bid, due to time difference and I lost out to someone in the room.
Next up is a gorgeous set by Paul Wunderlich made in 1927. This one made £2280 at Sotheby's 6 years ago. I love the pawns and rooks in this set; stylish and elegant in the extreme.
Last one for today is much earlier than all the others so far, but it is still a very good looking set and, in my opinion, deserving of its place among all the other gorgeous sets shown here. This Cambodian chess set is made with stained and white Ivory.