"Relatively modern ivory sets"
Oct 2, 2010Public
Photo: Most collectors have at least one relatively modern (say C20th) set whose actual age is very difficult to determine. There is a natural tendency to give such sets greater age than is perhaps the case. 

The following photo's are a selection of adverts from the UK's Chess magazine, which show that ivory sets were being marketed in the UK well into the 2nd half C20th - in some cases, virtually right up to the introduction of the CITES rules. 

Can we be truly sure that our sets are what we think they are?
Photo: Cover of Chess magazine No 518, Nov.1966 showing various products being sold by Chess of Sutton Coldfield (not the tea! Go elsewhere for that please!) More details in the following photo.

Interestingly - if you're of that mind! - this photo also appears on the cover of the 1966 edition of BH Wood's (the editor/owner/founder of Chess) book "The Easy Guide to Chess"
Photo: Interior cover to Chess magazine no 518 (previous photo). This clearly shows that the set on the cover is ivory. The first ref. I have found to this set is Feb 1966* - without any photo, but the same description. The testimonial printed in the advert, however, pre-dates this by quite a while!

* see next photo for an update on this.
Photo: Advert from Chess No.472 Dec.1964 This appears to be a better photo angle of the same Red & White ivory set as is mentioned in previous photo's. The testmonial is also from the same individual. As mentioned by Guy in his comment , I cannot recall having seen any of these sets either - yet they were clearly being sold over quite a lengthy period: perhaps someone has one?
Photo: Well, it's taken a very long time, but I have finally seen an example of the 'Chess' set - appearing on eBay September 2014, this was a 10.5cm King set. 

Although not shown, the box was apparently marked 'Chess, Sutton Coldfield'
Photo: The same set - better photos from a different eBay seller (Nov.2014)!

The knights are fairly basic - perhaps an Indian copy of the Lardy style?
Photo: Better photos of the box plus the 'Chess' markings.
Photo: Advert from Chess Magazine No. 533-4 July 1967 showing a "new type of ivory set".  

Similar sets with only very slight differences are sometimes marketed by sellers as being from the early 1900's.
Photo: Although there are differences, this set is quite similar to that depicted in the previous 1967 advert - especially the knights. No doubt many variants were made as with the c1900 Cantonese sets.
Photo: Direct comparison of eBay set (stated originally to have been bought in the 1960's in Hong Kong) and the 1967 advert shown in the previous two images, for ease of comparison.
Photo: Advert from Chess No.669-70, March 1973

This does not appear to be the Tyger set (next image), and is a direct-sale advert by an Indian maker for an ivory set. 

Note the substantial bulk discount on the wooden sets - 50% for 12 or more!
Photo: Advert from Chess No. 706 dated Sep. 1974 - after the CITES convention text had been agreed upon, but not then implemented. I have not been able - yet - to find a photo. of this Tyger set: does anyone have one that they could share?
Photo: Example (not owned) of one of these sets - this one was said to have been bought in 1959. They come in a variety of fairly similar designs. The image bottom, centre, clearly shows the grain of true ivory (although the sets are generally not described as such these days!) as well as the shallow male thread. The presentation board/box shown with this set is fairly typical of those found.