Austria. This set, actually, has been made in Mittenwald, a small town in southern Germany, next to the border with Austria. I listed the set at Austria because of the theme of Austrians against the Turks.

« of 2 »
  • Austria or Germany?
  • ca. 1960 or later?
  • Maple (or basswood?) K 11.6; p 8.1
  • Box 32.8×20.0×7.6

Austria. This set is a bit of mystery to me. Considering the style and presentation, I suspect it from Austria, Northern Italy or South Germany and of recent date. The pieces are marked with a three-pointed star as you can see at the base of the white rook, but I don't know what that means.

On the other hand: I bought this set from someone in USA who was unable to tell more about the set. The pieces were weighted in a strange way: there was some weight material in the bottom of the pieces covered with thick white felt. However, at most of the pieces the material had swollen and was disintegrated in some kind of powder pushing the felt away. Some pieces could barely stand, so I removed all.

« of 2 »
  • Austria or Italy?
  • 2000?
  • Lime K 9.9; p 7.3

Belgium. Very amusing chess set made by the Belgium artist Marilys Missotten. The set was used to open the Swift tournament at Brussels in 1987.

« of 4 »
  • Belgium, by Marilys Missotten
  • 1987
  • Baked clay K 6.1; p 5.1
  • Set is used to open the Swift tournament 1987 at Brussels

Czechia. These Ore Mountains sets are sold in a kind of letterbox/shelf, of which the back holds the chess board. Normally there are checker counters too. I do have only the chess pieces. See Hungary page for a set with similar rooks. On internet, at similar sets, some say these sets are Hungarian.

« of 2 »
  • Czech, Ore mountains
  • 20th century
  • Cedar K 8.4; p 4.4

Czechia. I have bought this tin set in Prague, but the pieces are made in moulds of the Irish company Prince August: PA713: Field of the Cloth of Gold: Henry VIII's side and PA714: Field of the Cloth of Gold: Francis 1st's side. The painting, which has been done very nicely, could have been done in Czechia or elsewhere.

« of 2 »
  • Czech, Prague, Prince August moulds
  • 20th century
  • Tin K 6.2; p 5.8
  • Cassette/board 31.9×31.9×5.2

Denmark. Who has not grown up with the Danish building blocks? Lego did issue several figural chess sets, but I do have only this one. I do have a playing (more or less) set: see Denmark  (Other European).

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  • Denmark, Lego 4277678, "Chess"
  • 2005
  • Plastic K 4.6; p 4.3
  • Cassette 32.2p×31.8×6.3
  • Board 25.3×25.3×0.7

England. SAC (Studio Anne Carlton, now in Folkestone, Kent, UK) made and makes a whole lot of themed chess sets. Sets, in similar way as these metal sets, were made around 1980, but are out of production now. I know the following of this expensive series, of which the last is not in the collection:

  • SAC-F601 Battle of the Alamo
  • SAC-F602 The American Civil War
  • SAC-F603 Waterloo
  • SAC-F604 American War of Independence
« of 4 »
  • England, by SAC, "SAC-F601, Battle of the Alamo"
  • 1980
  • Metal K 13.5; p 6.7
  • Cassette 44.8×24.8×9.8
  • Board see SAC-F603
« of 4 »
  • England, by SAC, "SAC-F602, The American Civil War"
  • 1980
  • Metal K 13.5; p 6.5
  • Cassette 44.8×24.8×9.8
  • Board see SAC-F603
« of 2 »
  • England, by SAC, "SAC-F603, Waterloo"
  • 1980
  • Metal K 10.7; p 7.4
  • Cassette 44.8×24.8×9.8
  • Board 41.9×41.9×1.0

England. Unfortunately I do not know anything about Fram Cook, nor I could find here at the internet.

« of 6 »
  • England, design by Fram Cook, Scotland
  • 1986
  • Resin K 5.7; p 3.4

France. This is a so called "Dieppe" set. This time with a Napoleon and Mamluk theme, although the white King is not Napoleon. But the pawns are.

  • France, "Dieppe"
  • Early 19th century
  • Bone K 7.3+7.0; p 5.5

France. These sets are modern pewter/lead sets of some popular themes. All made by Pixi Paris.

« of 4 »
  • France, by Pixi Paris, "Collection Astérix, 1er édition"
  • 1991
  • Pewter K1 6.0; p1 4.1; K2 8.1; p2 4.5
  • Box 45.0×42.5×9.3
  • Board 39.8×39.7
« of 3 »
  • France, by Pixi Paris, "Collection Pixi-Mini, Astérix" (No. 499)
  • ca. 1996
  • Pewter Kw 3.1; pw 1.6; Kz 3.8; pz 1.3
  • Box 21.1×21.3×4.0
  • Board 19.9×19.9
« of 3 »
  • France, by Pixi Paris, "Collection Pixi-Mini, Lucky Luke"
  • 1997
  • Pewter K1 4.1; p1 1.8; K2 3.5; p2 1.3
  • Box 21.1×21.1×4.0
  • Board 19.9×19.9

Georgia/Russia. Caucasus warriors as chessmen. According I.M.Linder, in his book "The Art of Chess Pieces", goes the design back to Zugdidi, Georgia, 1987. This is a set from "The porcelain of Kislovodsk City", in Kislovodsk, Stavropol Territory, USSR, made in the nineties of the 20th century. Differences from the original in Linder's book is the headdress of the bishops, the less elaborate painting and the felt under the pieces. I believe that originals have an under glass factory mark at the bottom.
I have added 2 pictures of a box of a similar set.

« of 3 »
  • Georgia, Zugdidi/Russia, Kislovodsk
  • 1987
  • Porcelain K 10.2; p 5.0

Germany. In the 19th century there were a lot of foundries that produced iron cast items. Of the ones that made chess sets deserve mentioning: Royal Ironworks in Berlin, E.G. Zimmermann in Hanau, Seebaß & Cie in Offenbach a/M and Albert Anton Meves in Berlin.

Sets 1 & 2 have a beloved theme, originally by Royal Ironworks in Berlin: "Frederick II (the great) vs. Napoleon I". Of course these persons were not contemporary but the Prussians wished Frederick II back to fight Napoleon! This theme has been copied by many. The royal pieces are based on designs by Carl August Kiss (Frederick II) and A.Kiss perhaps together with Wilhelm August Stilarsky (Napoleon), ca. 1820. There exist sets that have rooks that are all square, but normally the lower stage is round. The bishops wear Bearskin hats on the French side and the typical long helmets on the Prussian one. The 1st set, which is painted gold and black (at a later time I think), has bishops and queens switched from side. I guess that has occurred when it was painted. In both sets does Frederick miss his staff. The 1st set does have much more detail as the 2nd. This could have been caused by the fact that moulds of the 2nd set were used more often before this one was cast or, more likely, the casting sand used was coarser, which was generally so in later reproductions. Remarkable is that the 1st set is smaller and more detailed as the 2nd, while copies from originals are smaller because of the shrinkage of the iron (3/32 to 1/8 of an inch per foot), which also causes a loose of some detail. There must have been more moulds for these sets seen the differences in size and shape of rooks that exist. This theme is also produced in 20st century in pewter or tin.

« of 2 »
  • Germany, "Napoleon I (Bonaparte) and Frederick II (the Great)"
  • Early 19th century (could be later replica)
  • Iron K 6.5; p 3.8
  • Germany, "Napoleon I (Bonaparte) and Frederick II (the Great)"
  • Early 19th century (probably a later replica)
  • Iron K 6.7; p 3.9

Germany. Sets 3 & 4 have another well-known theme, originally by Zimmermann in Hanau: "the 30 Year War", with Ferdinand II of Habsburg (grey/silver side) battling against Gustavus Adolphus from Sweden (black side). This theme has been copied by many as well. The differences are mainly in the bases. The 1st set is not a Zimmermann because it is not marked as such. It could be an early copy from Seebaß, but the black rook is different from the white. Normally rooks of both sides do have the same shape in Zimmermann and Seebaß sets. So we don't know, but it looks like an original from an unknown maker. The 2nd set of the two is probably a later copy seen the round (in stead of octagonal) bases. 20st century copies in pewter or tin exist as well.

  • Germany, by unknown maker, "the 30 year war"
  • Early 19th century
  • Iron Kg 8.1; pg 4.4; Kz 7.8; pz 4.6
  • Germany, "the 30 year war"
  • Early 19th century (probably a later replica)
  • Iron K1 8.0; p1 4.5; K2 7.9; p2 4.6
  • This is not an original Zimmermann

Germany. The theme of the 5th set is called "The Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71". The kings are Napoleon III and the German Emperor. The rooks are modelled after the Strassbourg Cathedral. It has been produced by Albert Anton Meves Nachf. (=Nachfolger=Successor) and the king is signed "A.M.Nachf.". The sets appear in unpainted, poly-chromed and, like this one, monochrome (gold/silver and black) painted versions.

« of 2 »
  • Germany, by Albert Anton Meves Nachf., "the Franco-Prussian war in 1870"
  • ca. 1871
  • Iron K1 8.6; p1 4.6; K2 8.2; p2 4.4

Germany. This "Silhouette" set is hard to date. Probably early 20th century. I think it has been made by an amateur. I do not think that such sets were made as a common folk art or in workshops. I always thought that I could easily make the 2 missing pieces, but up to today it didn't happen.

  • Germany, "Silhouette"
  • Early 20th (late 19th?) century
  • Wood K 6.9; p 4.7

Germany. This "folkart" set is from about 1925. Pieces and board belong to each other.

« of 2 »
  • Germany, "folk art"
  • Early 20th century
  • Softwood K 7.2; p 4.3
  • Box/board 28.2×28.8×4.9

Germany. The factory at Fürstenberg was founded in 1747 under the Duke of Brunschwick ("Braunschweig") but no porcelain was made until 1753. The biscuit porcelain pieces are taken from the original 18th century moulds to commemorate the bi-centenary of the Fürstenberg factory. All pieces marked under the base with blue F-mark. The king as "Herzog Karl I von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel", the queen as his consort "Phillipine Charlotte von Preußen", bishops as "Johann Georg von Langen" (who did let start the porcelain production), knights as horses heads, rooks as turrets and pawns as peasant boys. A glass board fits with all pieces in a leatherette cassette. A rare and most decorative set.


« of 8 »
  • Germany, Fürstenberg
  • 1947
  • Biscuit porcelain K 9.3; p 5.8
  • Board 39.9×39.8×0.8
  • Cassette 44.4×44.2×8.7

Germany. Some nice porcelain sets. The "frog" and the "mouse" set from Albert Stahl & Co are searched for by collectors, but are not very rare. That can not be said for the round board, which seems to fit the frog set and has the anchor mark of Bohne & Söhne, like the "frog" set. That board is the only one I have seen, although I have seen similar ones, mostly with a porcelain thimbles chess set. See the pictures of the "frog" set. The little more rare "mouse" set has the "N" mark with 5-point crown. Mixtures of one side "frog" and he other "mouse" do exist as well, but I'm not sure about the originality of that. Of course are colour variations that I have seen original. To me it is unclear what the Bishops and what the Knights are in these sets. Probably I have switched them in my pictures of the "mouse" set. By the way: although named "the mouse set", do the animals look more like rats to me.

« of 5 »
  • Germany, by Albert Stahl & Co
    successor of Ernst Bohne & Söhne, "frog"
  • 2nd half 20th century
  • Porcelain K 6.8; p 3.6
  • Board Ø 32.0
« of 3 »
  • Germany, by Albert Stahl & Co
    successor of Ernst Bohne & Söhne, "mouse"
  • 2nd half 20th century
  • Porcelain K 7.0; p 3.7
  • Cassette 23.9×23.6×3.0

Germany. This Sitzendorfer porcelain set is also beloved by collectors.

  • Germany, by Sitzendorfer Porzellanmanufaktur
  • ca. 1980
  • Porcelain K 8.4; p 6.5

Germany, Munich. A baked clay chess set made in memory of the lost war of 1866 against Prussia. One side in light blue Bavarian uniforms, the other in dark blue Prussian uniforms. Representing Bavaria's fairytale King Ludwig II with empress Sissi, Richard Wagner and Munich Frauenkirche (rook) against king of Prussia Wilhelm I with Otto Bismarck (rook).  The hand painted figures have been designed by cartoonist Josef Blaumeiser.

« of 8 »
  • Germany, Munich, by Josef Blaumeiser, "In memoriam 1866, Die bayrische Revanche auf dem Schachbrett"
  • ca. 1986
  • Baked clay K 8.7; p 6.5
  • Cassette 47.0×47.0×h.h
  • Board 47.0×47.0

Germany. Three very nice cut modern carved wood sets, which are all unique (I mean: not series produced or only in small quantities). The 1st is very well carved and I like that the bishops of a side are mirrored. There are some subtle differences between bishops at both sides, like helmet, belt and clothing finish. Same is true for pawns. Nice rooks at white side as well.

« of 2 »
  • Germany, Oberammergau
  • ca. 1980
  • Wood Kw 10.0; pw 6.1; Kz 9.6; pz 6.2
  • Board 39.1×39.1×1.8

Germany. The 2nd carved wood set is coarser cut, but does have a lot of character in the figures. It is one of my favourites.

« of 2 »
  • Germany, Schwarzwald
  • ca. 1980
  • Wood K 12.7; p 7.7
  • Board 54.4×54.4×1.6

Germany. The large 3rd carved wood set is coloured. Note that the pieces on both side do only differ in colour and base. Nice detail is that the pawns are boys and girls, 4 of each at each side.

« of 2 »
  • Germany, by Herbert Holzheimer
  • ca. 2000
  • Wood K 11.7; p1 9.0; p2 8.2

Germany. This tin set is based on the popular cartoon by Albert Uderzo and sculpted by Stuart Harris. It could be obtained by subscription, obtaining each month a piece or a couple (main piece and pawn I believe). Whether the cassette/board was a bonus or should be ordered separately, I do not know. But I know the total became very expensive. I bought mine second hand for still quite a lot of money. Next to the Extec edition there is a Mayfair edition, which to my knowledge is exactly the same. Maybe there are more editions. That way problems with stating "limited edition" could be avoided!

« of 3 »
  • Germany, Extec Edition GmbH, "Astérix, Schach den Römern"
  • 1993
  • Tin K 6.6+7.1; p 4.6
  • Cassette/board 35.0×35.0×5.1

Greece. Actually I didn't know much of this chess set, until I found (and bought) one in original box in autumn 2019. So now I have prove it is Greek and made by Metalotehniki in Athens. Both sets differ slightly, like the knights and rooks. Also colour and maybe material? differ, but that could also be because the 1st set has been exposed for a long time. Maybe the 2nd set is of more recent date?

« of 3 »
  • Greece
  • 1982
  • Metal K 5.4; p 2.4
« of 5 »
  • Greece, Athens, by Metalotehniki
  • 1982
  • Metal K 5.3; p 2.4
  • Cassette 23.2×21.2×2.4

Greece. This set, in original box as well, was bought together with the set above in autumn 2019. It is a Greek set made by G.Dagiandis&Co in Athens. In this set are the silver and gold pieces not always clearly distinguished.

« of 4 »
  • Greece, Athens, by G.Dagiandis&Co
  • 1982
  • Metal K 4.0; p 2.4
  • Cassette 24.0×21.3×3.3

Greece. This set however, although bought in Greece, could have been made elsewhere (by Italfama in Italy?)

« of 3 »
  • Greece
  • 1982
  • Metal K 4.2; p 2.9

Greece. This set is still for sale today. This is what is stated at the Manopoulos side about this set: "This period was characterized by fierce local as well as international wars. The aggressiveness of the Pawn and the Knight fully represent the ferocity of these wars. The posture of the King and Queen indicates their unquestionable leadership. The Bishop reveals his consideration for the movements of the imminent battle. Finally, the Castle is a reproduction of a pillar which characterized the architectural style during that period." Note that the image is a stock photo.



  • Greece, Paleo Faliro, Manopoulos, "Greek-Roman" ("F11")
  • 2000
  • Brass K 9.7; p 6.1
  • Board 44.0×44.0

Hungary. This set does have commonalities with sets from the Ore Mountains as can be seen at my Czechia page. Rooks are almost identical. New insights, after visiting a shop with Ore Mountains figures, let me think that the set could have been made in that region, in spite of the fact that previous owner called it a Budapest set and similar sets are listed on internet as Hungarian. PS: picture is from internet, but set is rather similar to mine. Will make pictures of my set soon.

« of 2 »
  • Hungary, Budapest
  • 1977
  • Wood K 8.3; p 5.5

Italy. The first set is identified by the moulded marks on rear base of each piece, stating "DEPOSE ITALY" with the spider mark of Fontanini. In the pictures you can see it at the white Knight. Only producing 1,500 sets, these pieces are cast in the famous Fontanini cast resin. Sets of this theme do exist with antique gold and silver finishes as well. The design is by Elio Simonetti.

The second set has exactly the same figures, so I assume the design is of Elio Simonetti as well and its origin is Italy and not Spain as said by auctioneer.

« of 3 »
  • Italy, by Fontanini in Tuscane, design by Elio Simonetti, "Don Quichot theme"
  • 1960
  • Plastic (synthetic resin) K 11.9; p 8.0
« of 3 »
  • Italy (Spain?), design by Elio Simonetti, "Don Quichot theme"
  • 1980
  • Metal on wood bases K 12.0; p 8.0

Italy. In 1912 Josef Anton Riffeser founded the ANRI Company, which he named using the first two letters of his first and last name. Josef’s wife, Carolina Riffeser ran the company during the difficult years of war and the absence of her husband. When Anton Adolf Riffeser took over in 1945, he transformed the ANRI company, adopting a more industrial model which allowed for better quality control and distribution to new markets. He was followed by Ernst Riffeser who was able to enlist the services of many well known artists including Juan Ferràndiz, Sarah Kay and others. The ANRI company today is run by Thomas Riffeser, and still remains in the same family.

« of 18 »
  • Italië, Valdargena, ANRI Toriart, "Charlemagne"
  • 1970
  • Sculptulite K 4.6; p 3.0
  • Cassette/board 19.5×19.5

Italy. That plastic bust chess set looks as if made of wood. Maybe it is a replica of an old chess set, but it can also be a new creation.

« of 3 »
  • Italy
  • 1977
  • Plastic K 9.6; p 4.9

Italy. The Alabaster set is sometimes said being from China, but that's not true as these pictures tell:

The "Chiellini" (C A.&A.) company is famous in all the world for it's production of chess boards, chess men in Alabaster stone.

« of 4 »
  • Italy, by Chiellini (C A.&A.)
  • 1986
  • Alabaster K 7.8; p 4.9

Malta. The set was bought in Malta at the Chess Olympiad 1980. There is also a large Knight of 8.5 cm that has a sticker with the logo of that Olympiad and the text: "1980 CHESS OLYMPIADS MALTA". See the pictures.

« of 3 »
  • Malta
  • 1980
  • Porcelain K 6.5; p 2.8

Netherlands. This set is very cute, but I do not know much of it. I bought it in a recycle shop in my town. Especially I like the fact that bishops at each side are male and female and that all pawns are different. The set is one of my favourites.

« of 5 »
  • unknown origin (Netherlands?)
  • Bought in a recycle shop in my town in 2005, but set is much older I think
  • Ceramic K 5.8; p 3.1

Netherlands. This set has been made by an amateur. Large pieces in military outfits which are a bit primitively made. The pieces reside in a tailor made cabinet. There is a very nice large board that came with this set.

« of 4 »
  • Netherlands, by an amateur
  • 1970
  • Wood Kw 13.7; pw 11.0; Kb 13.5; pb 11.5
  • Cassette 35.4×33.7×19.3
  • Board 60.8×61.3×2.3

Netherlands. In 2010 the Chess Club Nuenen did invite the "Pleincollege" in Nuenen to contribute to a presentation at the cultural centre with the title "A chess match contains all the beauty of art". The school had adopted this invitation and a randomly chosen second class (2C) made a chess set: a king-size game even though, which had to be able to be played with. The dimensions of the board are not childish: size 2m*2m. The pieces are made under suspicion of Marijke Smulders, an artist, and made of MDF, Styrofoam and fabric hardened with Paverpol. Curtain rings, ping pong balls and skewers were used too. The most important thing is, that everyone in the class used their own creative ability to contribute. The newspapers "Rond de Linde" and the ED have published about the set. Also it has stayed two days in the monastery there and the mayor did open the manifestation "KunsT met een grote T". I got this set via a connection of the Chess Club Nuenen. They had no room to store it when they got it from the school after 2 years of display there.

« of 14 »
  • Netherlands, by childen in an art project
  • 2010
  • MDF/Styrofoam/fabric hardened with Paverpol K 42.8; p 18.1
  • Board 2m×2m

Netherlands. In 2012 Xenos shops in the Netherlands did have these chocolates from M&M with chess pieces for sale.