“Nuremberg”  (Germany)

"Nuremberg", and Augsburg as well, were in the 19th century centers for toy makers. They made also chess sets. In Nuremberg pattern sheets from the mid-19th century you see this type of chess sets. Also Selenus type, including the narrow Spindle ones, and the "Toy" sets are found in those pattern sheets.

Pieces of Nuremberg sets are very fragile, like the "Selenus" sets, and easily damaged, especially the bone ones. The sets are very common, but complete and undamaged sets are scarce. You will notice that some sets listed here are rather damaged.

Here you see 3 groups: 5 bone sets in different variations, 6 common wooden sets and 4 common bone sets.

The Nuremberg variations in the first group are actually less common. The 3rd set in this group is large for the type. The 5th set in that group, where King/Queen have no lower stem, might be an odd man out.

The other two groups show a very common model. Note that in spite of the numbers here that bone sets are more common than wooden sets. These sets often make part of a compendium or are accompanied by a roll-board that together with the pieces fit in a coffin. I do not know if that also applies to wooden sets. The last set listed is part of a compendium. I do not have a "Nuremberg" set with board in a coffin, but but I have such combination with a "Selenus" set.

The first wooden set is extremely scarce, because of the size and the box that was said being original. That box has not a side-way sliding lid as (smaller) Nuremberg sets have, but maybe such box is not suitable for such very large set. I bought this very large set on an auction and the set was listed in the catalogue as made from arbutus wood, but I do doubt that strongly. I believe these wooden sets were made of Maple and Cocobolo, but I am not 100% sure of these woods.

The second wooden set, although smaller, is scarce as well because of its size. It is a very pretty size to play with. This set has its original, side-way sliding, box.

The wooden set with the black pieces is odd. I found it intriguing, as these sets are never black. Most likely this set has been over-painted some day. Not sure when that's done. The set has still its original, side-way sliding, box.

Especially the bone sets in the last group are often confused with the English Barleycorn sets. That mistake is very persistent and enters even the best books on chess sets. The wooden Nuremberg sets, although similar in shape, are not confused with Barleycorn, because wooden Barleycorn sets do not exist. Other Nuremberg sets, like those in the first group, may be confused if they look like Barleycorn sets. Decorated Nuremberg sets (none listed on the site) are mostly confused with Barleycorn, because they are much alike, unless the set has faces.

« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • ca. 1850
  • Bone K 10.9; p 3.7
« 1 of 4 »
  • Germany, "open Nuremberg"
  • Mid 19th century
  • Bone K 11.3; p 3.9
  • Box/board 31.2×15.6×5.7
  • The knights in this set are better than average
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • Mid 19th century
  • Bone K 12.6; p 4.1
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • Mid 19th century
  • Bone K 9.6; p 3.2
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • Mid to late 19th century
  • Bone K 9.3; p 3.5
« 1 of 8 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • 2nd half 19th century
  • Maple? + cocobolo? K 12.4; p 4.5
  • Original? box 21.6×12.6×7.4
« 1 of 6 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • 2nd half 19th century
  • Maple? + cocobolo? K 10.0; p 3.5
  • Box 14.8×11.3×7.5
« 1 of 5 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • 2nd half 19th century
  • Maple? + cocobolo? K 7.7; p3.0
  • Box/board 26.4×13.1×5.7
« 1 of 6 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • 2nd half 19th century
  • Maple? K 7.1; p 2.6
  • Box 13.1×9.9×7.4
« 1 of 2 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • 2nd half 19th century
  • Maple? + cocobolo? K 7.0; p 2.2
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • 2nd half 19th century
  • Maple? + cocobolo? K 5.8; p 2.4
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • Mid 19th century
  • Bone K 7.1+7.4; p 2.6
  • Box 11.8×8.3×6.5
  • Board 31.3×30.3
« 1 of 4 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • Mid 19th century
  • Bone K 9.5; p 4.4
« 1 of 6 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg"
  • Mid to late 19th century
  • Bone K 8.3; p 2.7
« 1 of 9 »
  • Germany, "Nuremberg" compenduim
  • Mid to late 19th century
  • Bone K 7.6; p 2.7
  • Box with heraldic decoration 27.7×17.6×11.5
  • Board 24.5×24.5