Other European


Belgium. This "Staunton" set was bought in Anvers. Of course this does not mean that the set must have been made in Belgium. In fact I don't know, as I don't know the exact age.

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  • Belgium, Anvers
  • Mid 20th century
  • Boxwood K 7.4; p 3.6
  • Box 16.8×11.3×7.0

Czechia. These Czech or Czechoslovakian sets have different designs and origin. The first set has similarities with "Selenus" sets and is from Sudetenland.

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  • Czech, Sudetenland
  • ca. 1900
  • Wood K 10.0; p 5.0
  • Rollboard

Czechia. The second set is a typical "Coffeehouse" set, not from Vienna this time, but from Fidet, a Czech company.

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  • Czech, by Fidet, "coffeehouse"
  • ca. 1900-1910
  • Maple K 7.7; p 3.7
  • Box 18.7×13.7×5.1

Czechia. These 2 sets are called "Czech design" or "Czech Tournament" sets, which are made from early/mid 20th century to the present day, for instance in Romania. The 1st set listed here was made in Czech before it was part of Eastern bloc under Soviet Union and the 2nd one during that period. These sets are also found in Austria and Hungary, but I do not think they were made there. The older set has full wooden knights, but the newer has knights with plastic heads. Full plastic sets do exist as well. The full wooden knights are almost equal to the knights of the Fidet "Coffeehouse" set, an indication that Fidet could have made that particular "Czech Tournament" set. November 2019 I saw a picture of the 1963 Czech Championship where they used pieces as listed here.

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  • Czech, by Fidet, Czech design
  • Early 20th century
  • Maple K 10.2; p 4.8
  • Box/board 36.3×36.0×6.7
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  • Czech or Austria, Czech design
  • Mid 20th century
  • Maple K 10.7; p 6.2
  • Knights with plastic heads

Denmark. Danish sets from around 1800 are delicate. The 1st set is a nice example of an early Danish set. Very often you see finials in opposite colours, but not in this set.

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  • Denmark
  • ca. 1800
  • Bone K 6.2; p 3.6
  • Box 41.3×12.1×6.2

Denmark. The 2nd set is about the same age or a little later. It has the typical opposite colours in the finials. Further it comes in an interesting cassette (or box) with a board at the inner side of the lid. The cassette is signed by "BJ? Eriksson Stockholm". Most likely one of the previous owners.

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  • Denmark
  • ca. 1820
  • Bone K 8.9; p 4.6
  • Box/board (inside lid) 27.3×27.1×5.8

Denmark. The 3rd set here was indicated as Danish, but it could easily have been made in Germany. I have seen similar Rooks in a Geislingen bust set. I'm not sure of the date either.

 

There is another set, most likely made in Denmark, on the Sweden page.

 

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  • Denmark or Germany?
  • ca. 1860
  • Bone K 6.7; p 3.1

Denmark. Who has not grown up with the Danish building blocks? Lego did issue several figural chess sets, but I do have only one. See Denmark  (Europe). This "Iconic Chess Set", set number 40174, is a more or less playing set.

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  • Denmark, Lego 40174, "Iconic Chess Set"
  • 2019
  • Plastic K 8.8; p 4.6
  • Box/board 25.5×25.5×4.6

Hungary. This Hungarian set is made in war time or soon after, and resides in an adapted box of the American Red Cross food distribution for "ömlesztett sajt", cheese spread. Once it did belong to Michael from class 3b. In fact it is more a curiosity, but it has some history.

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  • Hungary, war set
  • 1945
  • Triplex K 4.4; p 3.4
  • Box 15.8×6.5×4.1

Italy. Antique Italian chess sets are extremely hard to find outside Italy. The sets have very characteristic knights. Nevertheless, it is not always recognized as antique Italian by collectors. The ivory Italian set was taken over from another collector. One could call it is a "Mazzini" set, because he owned a similar, but wooden, set.

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  • Italy
  • Late 18th century
  • Ivory K 7.4; p 3.9
  • Box 18.6×11.0×6.0

Italy. I was lucky to find the wooden set at Ebay. It has similarities with the more common so called Piedmontese sets. Although Rooks are not all equal, one Bishop's base shortened/replaced and one pawn's finial repaired, it is in very good condition. That can't be said of the box, but that's not a chess box anyway. Rooks could have been mixed with other sets, because these sets were in use at clubs. The base replacement of the bishop could have been done at manufacturer time.

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  • Italy, "Piedmonte alike"
  • 2nd half 19th century
  • Wood K 6.6; p 2.4

Italy. This ANRI set, designed by Arthur Elliott, is called "Universum", but is also known as "Space Age Chess Set". The pamphlet is in German, but it explains that King is a Space Station, Queen a Space Ship, Bishop an Intercontinental Rocket, Knight a Satellite, Rook a Radar Station and pawns just Rockets.

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  • Italy, ANRI, "Universum", "Space age chess set"
  • 1958
  • Wood K 10.4; p 4.8
  • Cassette 41.5×23.2×3.5

Italy. This abstract travertin set could have been made elsewhere, I'm not sure about the origin. I bought the set in 1997 in a second hand shop in the Netherlands, so it is probably a bit older. It was one of the first sets I bought for my collection.

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  • Italy
  • 1997
  • Travertin K 5.0; p 2.2
  • Board 41.5×41.5

Italy. Next 4 sets, all of metal, are made by Italfama, Florence, Italy. Although I could not find the 1st, somewhat smaller, set exactly so in the catalogue, I'm pretty sure it is of Italfama and it is a so called "Mignon" set. 2nd and 3rd set are in the catalogue, but the 4th isn't. I'm pretty sure it is of Italfama and probably it is what they call a "Staunton" set like their similar bigger sets.

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  • Italy, probably by Italfama, "Mignon set"?
  • 1987
  • Solid Brass K 5.5; p 2.5
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  • Italy, by Italfama, "art. 15B" ("Contemporary set")
  • 1988
  • Solid Brass K 7.0; p 3.9
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  • Italy, by Italfama, "art. 94B"
    ("little classic oriental set")
  • 2000
  • Brass K 7.4; p 4.0
  • Cassette 34.8×33.3×3.6
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  • Italy, probably by Italfama, "Staunton"
  • 20th century
  • Metal K 2.6; p 1.5
  • Cassette 17.8×17.8×2.1
  • Board 13.0×13.0×0.7

Poland. This chess set was bought in Berlin and, in spite of the famous Polish chest, could be German. The blue knights were absent, but it was promised to send them after. Only 1 came, so we (me, a friend and an experienced restorer) did make a copy. I did some smaller restorations as well. Note that some pictures show the imperfections before restoration. This set is not unique, I have seen another on Ebay. Actually it is more a decorative set as a set to play with.
If someone knows what the shields and characters on the Rooks mean, please tell me...

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  • Poland or Germany?
  • Early 20th century
  • Beech K 9.8+9.3; p 6.7
  • Box 21.5×12.5×11.8

Poland. This odd abstract set was an early addition to my collection, bought from Johan van Mil and Erika Sziva in 1998. They could not tell other things about the set but it's Polish origin.

You may say that these 2 sets are more decorative as to play with. Maybe I should move them to section "To look at" ?

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  • Poland
  • 20th century
  • Bolletrie K 8.0; p 3.0


Russia. I have listed these sets in order of age, more or less. The list starts with a lesser known Carbolite chess set from a factory that used to make Carbolite (kind of Bakelite). The company still exists today. The set has hollow pieces, which are filled with sand (or so) to make them heavier. Note that the pictures of the box are copied from the internet.

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  • Russia, by Carbolite company
  • 1940-1950
  • Carbolite (russian bakelite) K 6.8; p 4.0

Russia. The small travel set is most likely a tourist souvenir from Leningrad. Cannot say much about it, but it is from Russian Federation of about 1955. Date based on comparable sets offered on ebay and etsy by Russian sellers. Once offered as being 1970.

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  • Russia, Leningrad
  • ca. 1955
  • Plastic K 1.4; p 1.1
  • Box 12.5×10.1×2.9
  • Board 8.7×8.9

Russia. Here you see three "Russian tournament" sets. One is a pre WW2 set and the 2nd a cheap recent version. The 3rd is an amusing version with politicians. Just look at the pawns and try to identify them all!

The "Russian tournament" set is characterized by the finials in the opposite color on the Kings and Queens, which are also very similar in shape, and by the Bishops without incision.

Another "Russian tournament" style chess set can be found on the Unknown page.

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  • Russia, "Russian tournament"
  • ca. 1940
  • Wood K 10.0; p 5.1
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  • Russia, "Russian tournament"
  • Mid to late 20th century
  • Wood K 6.6; p 3.6
  • Box/Board 34.0×17.2×4.9
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  • Russia, "Russian tournament", politic faces
  • 1987
  • Wood K 7.4; p 4.4

Russia. The "Carved" set is made by hand, but I can't tell which wood it is. The older sets were made of hardwood and carved by hand. The more recent versions are of softwood and machine cut. I cannot date this set well. 1980 is just a lucky guess. But this handmade set is rather older than younger.

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  • Russia, "Carved"
  • ca. 1980
  • Wood K 10.5-11.0; p 6.0-6.6

Russia. I have added the "Matrioska" set, although you may argue it is more a decorative set. But you can play very well with it. The shape is not only based on the so called Matrioska dolls, but the set is actually named that way as the pamphlet tells us. Sorry, I have no picture of that pamphlet (yet).

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  • Russia, "Matrioska"
  • 1997
  • Birch K 10.8; p 5.8

Russia. The last in this list is a "Barleycorn" based set by the Chess Sets Gallery, Moscow. The design is by Oleg Rakis, who was inspired by the Barleycorn sets.

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  • Russia, Moscow, by Chess Sets Gallery, "Barleycorn"
  • 2005
  • Pear K 13.0; p 5.2
  • Cassette/board 45.5×45.5×7.3
  • Design by Oleg Raikis, inspired by the Barleycorn type

Spain. The 1st Spanish travel set in this list is one of my favourites. I love the simple form of the pieces and think it is a real beauty. The board is less impressive and has the clasp replaced, but does it's job well.

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  • Spain
  • ca. 1900
  • Boxwood K 5.0; p 2.6
  • Box/board 17.9×8.9×3.4 (closed)

Spain. The 2nd travel set does have neat pieces in the "Staunton" style. The lacquer has been unaffected, so I think it was never played with. I bought both travel sets in the same antique shop in Barcelona.

  • Spain, "Staunton"
  • Mid 20th century
  • Boxwood K 3.1; p 1.8
  • Box/board 15.2×7.1×2.5 (closed)

Spain. The typical Spanish design of the playing set does have some Régence and Staunton influences, but stands completely on its own. I bought the set on a flew market in Barcelona for little money. Probably the set has never been used, considering the condition.

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  • Spain, Spanish design
  • 1980?
  • Boxwood K 5.9; p 3.6
  • Box 18.3×10.4×6.8

Spain. This tiny chess set was a gift of a friend, who had bought it in Spain long ago. Most likely this set is a doll house set. Too small to play with. It is the smallest in my collection.

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  • Spain, miniature
  • 1989
  • Boxwood K 1.6; p 0.9
  • Box 4.2×3.0×1.5
  • Board 6.2×6.0×0.5

Turkey. This playing set has clear influence of Régence sets, not to say it is a Régence set. I bought this set in a post located antique shop in Istanbul. The elder shop owner told me that he used to play with it from the 50ies on, when he was a child. I love this set because of the primitive way it has been made and the history it has.

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  • Turkey, "Régence alike"
  • ca. 1950
  • Boxwood K 7.1; p 3.6-4.1

Turkey has a long tradition of making abstract onyx chess sets for the tourist market. I have 2 examples. The 1st was a gift of someone in my street, who had bought it on a holiday in Turkey long ago. He didn't know exactly when, but it could be in 1975. The 2nd one was a gift of a boyfriend of one of my daughters. He had just bought it for me in 2004. In almost 30 years not much has changed, except for the packaging.

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  • Turkey
  • 1975?
  • Onyx K 3.8; p 3.0
  • Box 26.3×26.4×3.7
  • Board 25.1×25.2×1.0
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  • Turkey
  • 2004
  • Onyx K 3.9; p 3.0
  • Box 30.0×28.5×6.0
  • Board 25.0×25.0×0.8

Sets listed below are of Unknown origin and/or age.
If you know more, then please let me know...

This "Russian tournament" style chess set was bought in 2004 in Istanbul, just 1 year before Hippopotamus ivory was put on the CITES list. I have placed it under unknown, because I'm very uncertain where the set has been made. According seller it is a Russian set of the 1920s. Could well be in my opinion, but I'm not sure. Another theory is that in the 1940s these sets were brought to England from French North Africa by soldiers of the second world war. In England these sets would not be uncommon. However I have never seen another. Have to say that it is one of my favourites, not only because of the material, but also because of those beautiful Knights and the fact that they are very playable due to their stability and weight. Very clear colour difference as well.

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  • unknown origin (Russia?)
  • ca. 1920-1940
  • Hippopotamus ivory K 8.3; p 4.5
  • The set was sold to me as Russian, ca. 1920, sperm whale

I can't tell anything about this wooden playing set. I don't think it has been made by an amateur, although it looks like that on first sight. Only thing I can say is that I bought it from a chess enthousiast in the Netherlands.

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  • unknown orgin
  • 2nd half 20th century
  • Wood K 10.2; p 5.3
  • Box 34.8×34.0×7.9

This wooden playing set looks as made by an amateur. Only thing I can say is that I bought it from the same chess enthousiast as the other wooden playing set.

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  • unknown orgin
  • 2nd half 20th century
  • Wood K 6.0; p 3.4
  • Box/Board 29.7×14.7×6.2

This metal "Burmese" set is more a curiosity. Further I would put an antique ivory "Burmese" set probably under "To look at". So I'm not sure I will keep it listed here.

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  • unknown origin (England?), "Burmese"
  • unknown age (1960?)
  • Metal K 8.5; p 5.3

This abstract set of glass is beautiful and one of my favorites. People always ask if I have a glass chess set in my collection, thinking on those common (small) Staunton glass sets they mostly have. I do have some as well and you can find them elsewhere on my site. But a set like this is always impressive.

  • unknown orgin (Germany, Italy, England?)
  • ca. 1980
  • Glass K 12.7; p 6.1

Set listed below is of Unknown origin.
If you know more, then please let me know...

This "travel" set was bought recently with the main reason that I have a travel set with exact the same pieces, which was bought in the Netherlands in 1948. See my Travel (Netherlands) page. Jaques did sell travel chess sets in a leather case with exactly the same pieces. The pieces must have been made by the same manufacturer, but unclear is who that is.

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  • unknown origin (England or Germany?)
  • ca. 1950
  • Plastic 1.4 (2.1 with pin)
  • Box 20.1×13.6×3.2
  • Board 12.2×12.2

Not much can be said about this plastic travel set in the Staunton style. This kind of sets were often used as advertisement items. There is some logo, with a chess motive, on the outer plastic shell, but I do not know the meaning of it.

« 1 of 4 »
  • unknown origin, "Staunton"
  • Mid 20th century
  • Plastic K 2.6; p 1.4
  • Box 14.5×7.7×2.4
  • Board 12.8×12.8