European chess sets
Nov 18, 2009Public
Photo: Germany/Austria
Photo: CH35; Possibly German, but a lot of doubt - C19th; bone; a fair amount of damage, but I loved the Knights (see
Photo: CH 35; Knights - beautiful!
Photo: CH35 - the box the set came in; German from the way the top opens; a glass of Kummel, perhaps, made the ring? One can dream
Photo: CH217; German spindle set mid/late C19th; several pieces are not original
Photo: CH77 - German bone Selenus set - C19th, black pieces
Photo: CH77- German bone Selenus set C19th - K=3.5in - white pieces

The white king appears to be a replacement piece.
Photo: CH363 Selenus set, bone, most likely German

early/mid C19th

K= 4.7in / 120mm 

Damage to White King's stem and loss of the Black King's top feather finial

I've always preferred the dark-stained 'black' pieces over the red and, despite the damage, like this set.
Photo: CH01; German - small bone set - one I acquired in the early 1970's
Photo: CH02; German - another tiny bone set I acquired in the 1970's for use as a travel set
Photo: CH164: German; C19th; bone - King=2in
Photo: CH290: German, bone set, K=3.5in

 A mixture of styles - but to what extent original to the set?
Photo: CH290 - King & Queen

The top elements of the bodies remind me very much of Selenus-style sets, with their pierced gallery-style.
Photo: CH290 - thread to one of the stems.

Note the "undercutting" of the base of the thread.
Photo: CH306 German 'Nuremburg Barleycorn' wooden set  

K=10cm / 3.9in

This set follows the English so-called 'plain-Barleycorn' style (which I consider to be a misnomer, as there is no barleycorn motif in the least on either these or their English brethren!), but with the addition of more German-looking knights and rooks.

According to Schach Partie, these are from the Nuremburg region and date to c.1850's. Like the English Barleycorn designs, however, it was presumably made over quite a long period and into the C20th.

Although light - something I normally dislike in a chess set - this set appeals greatly to me.

Photo: CH306 Nuremburg Barleycorn set:  Black-side pieces

From the occasional chip, it can be seen that the wood is naturally dark throughout, and not stained. It is however very lightweight, as is the white side.

It seems that the wood on these sets was a fruit-wood - but it looks different to that frequently found on later German/Austrian sets.
Photo: CH306 The rooks are in monobloc form ; all other pieces (bar knights) have a single body and a separate base. They are joined by a simple push-fit peg as seen - no threads are used.
Photo: CH306  - mark on the bottom of the likely-original German-style box (tatty, with no lid)

"Eugen Liebler"

I orginally thought this to be, most likely, the name of the manufacturer or retailer, rather than an owner - but given a stamp on a German clock that is of the owner am no longer so sure. No details found of this individual.
Photo: CH318 German wooden 'Nuremburg Barleycorn' set of fruitwood

(set on an English Railway board that did not come with it).
Photo: CH318 German 'Nuremburg Barleycorn' fruitwood set

K= 2.7in / 68.4mm

These really are quite delightful, if simple, sets. This one is smaller, but in spite of being light, is very stable on the board.
Photo: CH48; German, bone, c.1900; probably by Uhlig
Photo: CH48 - the “Kangaroo” knights from the Uhlig set
Photo: CH66: another German bone set, probably by the firm of Uhlig  c.1900 - very similar to CH48. I find these sets very tactile, and nice to play with - the bone is highly polished.
Photo: CH66 - handwritten inscription on base of the accompanying box, dated as Oct. 1900 (the address being at Bognor, in England)