Video 1 of Chess Set Collecting & Restoring Basics: Assessing the condition of antique/vintage sets





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Published on Apr 20, 2012

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I thought it might be useful to discuss a related set of ideas:

1. How does one know if a Jaques set is a Jaques set?
2. How does one identify the year / style of one's Jaques set?
3. How does one ensure that all the pieces in that set "go together"?
4. What are other things to assess when looking at a set you own, or a set you are thinking of buying/selling?

First I point out that a Jaques set IS a Jaques set if it is stamped "Jaques". I also show you an insider's tip about how the Jaques' leaded weights were marked.

I then show you a complete and correct Jaques set that might be mistaken for a circa 1900-25 style set if one looked solely at the knights, but that clearly is an 1885-1890 style set once one looks at the other pieces in the set, beginning with the give-away bishop, whose thick miter, sloped miter cut and setback bishop's knop are clearly from the 1885-1890 style rather than the newer one.

I then show you two other sets that we own privately and can never restore nor sell as "complete & original" Jaques Stauntons.

One of these is a club set that would be worth thousands if it were complete and original, but it is made of at least two different sets and can never be made right. That one we will keep and play as a house set, with some bemused respect for its probable warrior past as a set played in the chess clubs and bashed all about for 100 years by the chess players.

The second mixed up set was probably the result of intentional deception, sadly. Two of the knights, the queens, and the black king are all subtly but indubitably wrong. The set was, of course, sold as "complete and correct and original" and all that to the person from whom we bought it. He became concerned (rightly!) and sold it to us, although he was honest and told us his concerns. It will never be correct, because I simply cannot replace major pieces like that as part of a "restoration". :(

Here and there in the video I chat a bit about other things such as boxes and labels.

Cheers! Alan Dewey

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