RELEASE: Legendary Souvenir Chess Piece For Sale

Legendary Souvenir Chess Piece:

House of Commons V. House of Representatives, 1897

 

LondonChristie’s is pleased to announce the sale of The Property of a Private Collector of Chess Sets and Game Boards, to be included in the Interiors sale at Christie’s South Kensington saleroom on 7 December 2010. The chess collection is to be sold by one of the founding members of Chess Collectors International, established in 1984, in Florida, USA. A leading highlight from the collection is a very rare souvenir chess piece. Thought to be one of only a few surviving examples, this gilt-bronze piece by Carlo and Arthur Giuliano was made to commemorate the historical chess match played between The House of Commons in London and The House of Representatives in Washington D.C, by cable in 1897 (estimate: £4,000-6,000) illustrated right. Lasting two days, the match resulted in a draw, with each winning 2 ½ games each, and a souvenir chess piece is believed to have been presented to each player as a memento for having taken part.  

Arranged by John Henniker Heaton, a British Conservative MP, and U.S. Representative Richmond Pearson of North Carolina, this is believed to have been the only match played between the two governments of the UK and US. The matches were arranged as a fun pastime, but the players took them very seriously, with the Representatives documented as having received professional coaching beforehand. Cable matches were arranged soon after cable transmissions became available, the only drawback being the high cost for transmitting the messages.

The game of chess is documented to have been introduced to the ‘smoke-room’ at the House of Commons in the late 1880s, and was allegedly a very popular pastime for members. Several articles published at the time refer to a chess club, a petition for better chess boards and tables in the House, as well as lamenting the loss of the best chess players, due to members losing their seats during elections.

A number of the sets and boards on offer in the Collection featured in the famed exhibition catalogue “Schachpartie Durch Zeiten und Welten”, by Hans and Barbara Holländer. The catalogue documented the largest and most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to chess sets and related items ever staged, which was to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Hamburger Schachklub – the oldest and largest chess club in Germany, established in 1830. For chess collectors around the world, the chance to acquire items which appeared in this book is a very rare and special opportunity, and one not to be missed.

Further highlights from the Collection include:

A South East Asian carved ivory figural chess set, Burmese, early 19th century
Estimate: £10,000-15,000

A German turned and carved bone chess set, early 19th century
Estimate: £1,000-1,500

A North European painted carved fruitwood bust chess set, probably French, second half 18th century
Estimate: £6,000-8,000

 

 

 

 

A German silver and silver gilt chess set and silver board, the board with Mark of Ferdinand Wilm for H.J. Wilm, Hamburg, early 20th century
Estimate: £2,000-4,000

A Victorian turned ivory playing chess set, by William Lund, mid-19th century
Estimate: £2,000-3,000

A carved bone 'Pulpit' bust type chess set, early 19th century
Estimate: £8,000-12,000

 

 # # #

High resolution images and further information available upon request

http://www.christies.com/departments/interiors/

 

 

Notes to Editors:

Public Viewing:

Saturday 4 December: 11.00am - 5.00pm

Sunday 5 December:    11.00am - 5.00pm

Monday 6 December: 9.00am - 7.30pm

 

Auction:           Tuesday, 7 December at 10.30am

Ecatalogue:     Available online from mid-November 2010 at www.christies.com/calendar (sale 5997)

 

Past single-owner chess sets sales at Christie’s:

The Dr. Jean-Claude Cholet Collection of Chess Sets – 2 May 2007

The Ettore Chiesa Collection of Chess Sets – 20 September 2006

The Kaspar Stock Collection of Chess Sets – 27 May 2004

The Allen Hofrichter Collection of Chess Sets – 20 September 2000

 

Christie’s Interiors Sales

The Interiors sales offer the ultimate opportunity to source a diverse and eclectic selection of home furnishings with an extensive selection of lots in each sale including everything from ceramics and textiles to furniture and lighting, each piece defined by its inherent value and design integrity. Designed to satisfy the demands of everyone from the first time buyer and aspiring interior decorator to the seasoned collector, Christie’s Interiors offers weekly sales open to all which boast Monday late night and Sunday viewings, approximately 400 lots per week and estimates starting from £300. Each sale presents a distinctive and unique range of property thoroughly researched by an experienced global team of specialists to ensure each piece offers genuine authenticity and provenance so buyers in pursuit of originality, beauty and craftsmanship can always be assured of a unique purchase. *Further information available.

Christie’s South Kensington

Open seven days a week, Christie’s South Kensington is the busiest saleroom in the UK, annually holding over 100 sales and offering more than 20,000 lots. The recently refurbished saleroom facilities and exhibition spaces provide one of the most accessible, well lit and welcoming sales arenas in the world, consistently attracting over 200,000 visitors a year. Interiors sales dedicated to home furnishings are held three times a month alongside monthly Sunday sales of single-owner collections, and specialised sales for the avid collector are scheduled throughout the year according to category. Every lot is beautifully illustrated in a large scale magazine-style catalogue and in an online e-catalogue. Christie’s South Kensington appeals to a worldwide audience – in 2009 bidders originated from over 50 countries, with around 20% of bidders taking part in auctions from the comfort of their own home or office, using Christie’s unique online bidding facility, Christie’s LIVE™.

 

CHRISTIE’S SOUTH KENSINGTON 

85 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3LD

OPENING SEVEN DAYS A WEEK

Monday:  9.00am – 7.30pm 

Tuesday – Friday:  9.00am – 5.00pm 

Saturday & Sunday:  11.00am - 5.00pm

 WWW.CHRISTIES.COM

Prices do not include buyers’ premium

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.