Wallets  (Symbols & Figurines)

Wallets are typically sets with either equally formed plates or discs with symbols, or figurines which are formed according the different chess pieces. Often these wallets have plug in pieces and are not that suitable for play, but more meant to store a position of interest. Or more than 1 position, as in the harmonica wallets. Some wallets do have magnetic pieces and are meant and suitable for play. Occasionally you see figurines that must vertically be put in a raised board, which is also suitable for play. Or just as disc set to play with. Wallets appear also as advertisement stuff or to serve as chess set to support radio lessons. I suppose it was not convenient to follow the lessons with the latter.

De La Rue pocket chess set exists in different versions. Here you see 2 of them (these are not the oldest version). Note that I do have only the board of the type that's showed top right at the overview picture. Pieces of this type are different from the other in the sense that there are no checker figures on the pieces. The chess figures are slightly different as well.

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  • England, by De La Rue (in 2 different designs)
  • Mid 19th century
  • Cardboard pieces 3.0×1.0
  • Map 15.4×10.1×0.9

The front and back and also the edges are designed by Owen Jones, author of "The Ornament or Grammar".

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  • England, by De La Rue
  • Mid 19th century
  • Cardboard pieces 3.0×1.0
  • Wallet 15.0×9.7×0.8

Most of the wallets below are early 1900. Some are in bad condition, but it shows that they were actually used!

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  • Germany
  • ca. 1905
  • Celluloid pieces 2.0×0.9
  • Wallet 13.3×8.7×0.5
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  • Germany
  • ca. 1905
  • Celluloid pieces 2.0×0.9
  • Wallet 13.3×8.7×0.5
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  • Germany
  • ca. 1910
  • Celluloid pieces 2.1×1.0
  • Wallet 13.2×8.7×0.5
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  • Germany
  • ca. 1910
  • Celluloid pieces 1.0×2.0
  • Board 17.2×13.3
  • Map 14.7×10.9×0.7
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  • Germany
  • ca. 1910
  • Celluloid pieces 2.1×1.0
  • Wallet 13.7×9.6×2.0
  • England
  • 1st half 20th century
  • Celluloid pieces 2.2×1.0
  • Wallet 13.3×8.9×0.6
  • Belgium
  • Mid 20th century
  • Plastic or Celluloid? pieces 2.8×1.3
  • Map16.7×11.2×0.6
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  • Germany
  • 20th century
  • Plastic pieces 2.1×1.0
  • Board 18.2×13.5
  • Map 14.9×9.8×0.5

These wallets were part of a series of radio lessons, called "Op College bij Dr. Euwe", in 1936. The lessons were accompanied with 4-page pamphlets. I believe these were collected in a book in 1938.

Does anyone has the missing pamflets/book ?

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  • Netherlands, by AVRO
  • 1936
  • Cardboard pieces 2.1×1.1
  • Wallet 15.6×11.1×0.2

The pictures showing the pamflets of the radiolessons are copied from internet.

And a Czech wallet with figurines.

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  • Czech
  • Mid 20th century
  • Paper pieces K 2.3×1.1; p 2.1×0.9
  • Wallet 16.7×10.7×0.3

Under the Board, in German: "Ges. Gesch. " (=Gesetzlich Geschuetzt) and Czech: "Zakonem chraneno", which also means protected by law. It is made by A. Nemas, from Zlin (Czech Republic). On the back is the logo and "REG 11869".

This is an interesting Y.M.C.A. chess set for WWII.  In gold on front we see Y.M.C.A. logo with texts: "CANADIAN", "SPIRIT MIND BODY" and "OVERSEAS" with under that "CANADIAN Y.M.C.A. OVERSEAS", a line and "POCKET CHESS AND CHECKER SET". On the other side, in black, de texts: "SERVING CANADIAN SAILORS, SOLDIERS & AIRMEN", "CANADIAN Y.M.C.A. CLUBS IN LONDON", "LEINSTER GARDENS W.2", "QUEEN'S GARDENS W.2", "LEXXAM GARDENS W.8", "Also associated with the CANADIAN Y.M.C.A.", "THE BEAVER CLUB TRAFALGAR SQUARE", "ALSO IN THE FIELD", "SPORTS", "RECREATION CENTRES", "CANTEENS", "TEA CARS", "ENTERTAINMENTS", "PERSONAL SERVICE" and under the line "CONSULT YOUR Y.M.C.A. SUPERVISOR" followed by another Canadian overseas logo with known texts. The set, actually, is suitable to play but you have hold the board down and handle discs carefully, otherwise you risk to ruin your position!

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  • Canada, Y.M.C.A. Overseas, Pocket Chess And Checker Set
  • ca. 1942
  • Cardboard pieces Ø 1.75
  • Board 17.6×17.6
  • Map 18.5×10.2×0.7

Another very rare and interesting chess set is this folding wallet that, when opened, unfolds a board that raises up and has figurines inserted. The pieces will stand then and are easy to handle. So it is possible to play with it, but it tends very strongly to close itself, probably because it has never been used to play with before. On the side of the board we see "Ges. Geschützt Nr.485187." and "M. Herzberg, Königsberg i. Pr.".

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  • Germany, Königsberg i. Pr., M.Herzberg
  • Mid 20th century?
  • Plastic pieces K 4.1×1.3; p 3.1×1.1
  • Board 15.5×15.5
  • Wallet 18.9×10.7×0.8

Hard to tell the origin and age of this plastic wallet. I keep it on 2nd half 20th and Netherlands. If someone knows, then please tell me.

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  • Netherlands?
  • 2nd half 20th century
  • Plastic pieces 2.0×1.1
  • Wallet 17.5×11.4×0.7

The Russian origin of this wallet is clear, but age isn't. I cannot explain the logos, but texts on backside are: "АРТИКУЛ МОЛД-24" (Article model-24) and "ЦЕНА 95 КОП" (Price 95 kopecks).

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  • Russia
  • 20th century
  • Plastic pieces 2.0×1.2
  • Wallet 14.2×9.9×0.6

Just some advertising stuff. With a few miniatures that Adorjan had won!

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  • Hungary, Budapest
  • 1980
  • Promotion material; pieces plastic Ø 1.6
  • Board 20.6×15.8

These plastic and magnetic wallet/pocket sets can be used for play indeed. Personally I find it somewhat cumbersome. The 2 wallets have commercial intentions.

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  • USA, by U.S. Chess Federation
  • Late 20th century
  • Plastic pieces Ø 1.5
  • Wallet 16.7×17.2×0.9
  • Netherlands
  • 1980
  • Plastic pieces Ø 1.6
  • Wallet 14.4×10.4×0.4