“The Rose Chess”  (England)

England. "The Rose Chess" was patented on 24 April 1941 by The Rose Chess company of Mrs Mildred Rose of Rofant Road, Northwood, Middlesex. The lead pieces, based on the Staunton design (named "ordinary chess-men" in the patent), are flat with supports at the base for stability. Picture below of (part of?) the patent is copied from "chess-collection.de".

According Dennis Hunt, in an article called “My life (so far) as a collector” In USA-News – Chess Collectors International – Vol.8,no.3 (October 2001), does the patent describe an associated board in which the pieces do fit and can be secured by turning. It is hard to believe because it would ask for a construction in the board, on each field, that makes it possible. I have never seen such associated board. It isn't mentioned in the patent above either. But maybe above extract isn't complete.

Some say that the design was by W.B.Tattersall, London. I have my doubts about that. Tattersall is a.o. known for their series small booklets with game rules. Not only chess. I could not find proof he did design "The Rose Chess" set.

There are boxes in 3 sizes, labels in 3 variants, 2 different patent numbers, large and small sets. You see large sets in large boxes, large and small sets in medium boxes and small sets in small boxes. But I have to say that I'm not sure whether a small set in a medium box is an original combination.

There is one label variant, which is extremely scarce. I bought one 8 years ago and only now (August 2018) I saw another which I bought as well (sic). It is a large set in the medium box with label stating, "THE" and "Rose Chess" in 2 straight lines, "( Prov. Patent 5280/41 )" and "MADE IN ENGLAND". The facts that there is "/41" at the patent and that there is no "NO. 1 SET" on the label suggest that we deal with a very early set from 1941. Also all pieces are stamped "MADE IN ENGLAND" only and omit the other stamps.

Large and medium boxes normally have a label stating: "THE ROSE CHESS" in bended way, "PROV. PAT.No 5280", "MADE IN ENGLAND" and "NO. 1 SET". Small boxes have a label stating: "THE ROSE" and "CHESS" in 2 straight lines and "PATENT NO 546516". Pieces are stamped with "ROSE", "MADE IN"+"ENGLAND" and "P/PAT.5280", although not always very well visible or consistent. It is also striking that the small pawns in a medium box have been stamped, unlike the pawns of sets in the small box. On the other hand, they did small pieces stamped "P/PAT 5280" in a box labelled "PATENT NO 546516" as well. That isn't consistent 😉

The "NO. 1 SET" indication could have been introduced when the smaller set came out. The small set in small box does not have a classification. Probably it is a kind of quality indication (as is "de luxe" nowadays) or referring to original/best quality. It doesn't match with a small set in a medium box with "NO. 1 SET" on it, which strengths my opinion today that this is not an original combination.

Al last: The colour of the large set in the large box tends to be a bit more orange and less shining than the red/black of the others. Sometimes you see other colours, like cream with black. Not sure that's original. Boxes can have other colours as well, like green. The box of the last set in this series does have staples at the side, which is less common, as well as the fact that none of the pieces have been stamped.

"The Rose Chess" set is very common and can be found on eBay on a weekly base. Often dated to 1900-1920, which of course is wrong.

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This set from 1941 is one of two I have seen.

  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • 1941
  • Lead K 6.4; p 3.0
  • Box 11.0×9.0×3.8
  • Large "Rose" model in medium sized box with:
    "Prov. Patent 5280/41"
  • All pieces stamped at bottom with just "MADE IN"+"ENGLAND" (in 1 or 2 lines)
« of 7 »

This set from 1941 is the other one I have seen.

  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • 1941
  • Lead K 6.4; p 3.0
  • Box 11.0×9.0×3.8
  • Large "Rose" model in medium sized box with:
    "Prov. Patent 5280/41"
  • All pieces stamped at bottom with just "MADE IN"+"ENGLAND" (in 1 or 2 lines)
« of 5 »
  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • ca. 1942
  • Lead K 6.4; p 3.0
  • Box 17.8×11.7×3.6
  • Large "Rose" model in large sized box with:
    "PROV. PAT.No 5280" and "NO. 1 SET"
  • All pieces stamped at bottom with (parts of) "ROSE", "MADE IN"+"ENGLAND" (in 1 or 2 lines) and "P/PAT.5280"
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Note that the pieces are still originally bound to their cards!

  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • ca. 1942
  • Lead K 6.4; p 3.0
  • Box 17.8×11.7×3.6
  • Large "Rose" model in large sized box with:
    "PROV. PAT.No 5280" and "NO. 1 SET"
  • All pieces stamped at bottom with (parts of) "ROSE", "MADE IN"+"ENGLAND" (in 1 or 2 lines) and "P/PAT.5280"
« of 3 »
  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • ca. 1942
  • Lead K 5.1; p 2.8
  • Box 11.0×9.0×3.8
  • Small "Rose" model in medium sized box with:
    "PROV. PAT.No 5280" and "NO. 1 SET"
  • All pieces stamped at bottom with (parts of) "ROSE", "MADE IN ENGLAND" (in 1 line only) and "P/PAT.5280"
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Note that the pieces are still wrapped in original paper!

  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • ca. 1942
  • Lead K 5.1; p 2.8
  • Box 10.8×7.1×3.4
  • Small "Rose" model in small sized box with:
    "PATENT No 546516"
  • Most major pieces (pawns not) stamped at bottom with (parts of) "ROSE", "MADE IN ENGLAND" and "P/PAT.5280" !!
« of 7 »
  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • ca. 1942
  • Lead K 5.1; p 2.8
  • Box 10.8×7.1×3.4
  • Small "Rose" model in small sized box with: "PATENT No 546516"
  • Most major pieces (pawns not) stamped at bottom with (parts of) "ROSE", "MADE IN ENGLAND" and "P/PAT.5280" !!
« of 6 »
  • England, "The Rose Chess"
  • ca. 1943
  • Lead K 5.1; p 2.8
  • Box 11.1×7.6×3.4
  • Small "Rose" model in small sized box with: "PATENT No 546516"
  • None of the pieces stamped at bottom.

England. I do not believe that the more Staunton looking variant, which is rather scarce, is made by Mildred Rose, because pieces are not stamped and the box, that appeared with such set on September 2017, has no label or other indication. The box is like the large box of The Rose Chess, including small inner box (fixed this time), but of inferior quality. If it was from Mildred Rose you would expect a label or stamped pieces. So I think the more Staunton looking variant is a cheaper copy of The Rose Chess from another source. In different pattern to avoid patent problems, maybe?

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  • England, "Staunton" (in Rose Chess manner)
  • ca. 1942
  • Lead K 6.4; p 2.9
  • Pieces not stamped
« of 10 »
  • England, "Staunton" (in Rose Chess manner)
  • ca. 1942
  • Lead K 6.4; p 2.9
  • Box 18.0x11.7x3.4
  • Pieces not stamped