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Rare scented chess set & a Spassky signed board for sale at Bonhams chess & games auction
A Spassky-Fischer silver and silver-gilt chess set. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- Bonhams will offer a number of very rare and unusual items in the Chess Sets, Playing Cards and Games sale on the 14th September, taking place in the Knightsbridge saleroom. An unusual “Mary Chess” glass perfume bottle chess set is estimated to sell for £2,000 – 3,000. During the 1930s Mary Chess became synonymous with fine women’s perfume, and a selection of popular scents were bottled in glass chess pieces.

Together with a full set of unopened scent bottles, a number of letters written to Mary Chess Ltd are also included in the sale. The Queen Mother owned a similar set and letters from her lady in waiting and financier thanking Mary Chess for the “magnificent chess set” along with a letter from the Queen of Sweden’s lady in waiting thanking the company for the “useful and wonderful products” will all be offered with the scent bottles.

A further highlight of the sale is a rare “Spassky-Fischer” silver and silver-gilt chess set designed by the American Director Cy Enfield in 1972. Best known for his 1964 film “Zulu”, starring Michael Caine, Endfield was commissioned to design set to commemorate the Chess World Championship of 1972 between Fischer and Spassky. Estimated to sell for £2,000 – 3,000, the set is one of a rare limited edition of six and is also signed by Boris Spassky.

Estimated to sell for £10,000 – 15,000 an exceptional 17th century South German kingwood, oak, padouk, ebony and ivory inlaid games board will also be offered by Bonhams.

The sale also includes a number of Jacques Staunton sets, which are avidly sought by collectors. The particular style of set was created in London in 1849 and soon became the standard, used around the world ever since. A Staunton ivory chess set circa 1865-70 estimated at £3,000 – 5,000, a Staunton weighted boxwood and ebony chess set circa 1853-5 estimated at £2,000 – 3,000 and further ivory chess set circa 1855/65 estimated at £5,000 – 7,000 are of particular interest.

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