Press Release from PR Consultant Sarah Winstanley

1st October 2009

An unusually large Victorian chess set by Jaques of London is the star lot of the October sale at the Lincoln auction rooms.

chessThe Staunton pattern set, which comprises of turned sycamore and black stained pieces, is estimated to fetch between £800 and £1,200 in the sale at Thomas Mawer and Son of Portland Street on Saturday, October 3.

Auctioneer John Leatt said: "The game of chess is an old favourite and antique chess sets are very collectable because there are so many different types to collect.

"Jaques' sets are considered the Rolls-Royce of chess collecting particularly those in complete and original condition. This set is in very good condition and we expect it to attract a lot of interest on sale day."

Founded in 1795, Jacques London is still trading to this day and is now in its sixth generation. It is regarded as the oldest sports and games company in the world and has made games for the Royal Family.

The company's founder Thomas Jaques was a famer's son of French Huguenot descent who left his home in a small village in Wiltshire aged 15 to seek his fortune in London. He became an apprentice to bone and ivory turner Mr Ivy who had premises at 65 Leather Lane, Holborn. Thomas proved to be a talented craftsman and aged 21, he married Mr Ivy's niece.

Nine years later when Mr Ivy died, Thomas, then aged 30, took over the business, establishing 'Thomas Jaques (Manufacturer of Ivory, Hardwoods, Bone and Tunbridge Ware)' in 1795. His son John was born in the same year and 20 years later, he became a partner in the company which was now known as 'T. And J. Jaques, Wholesale Ivory Turners'. They specialised in timber products and made croquet mallets out of the hardwood Lignum Vitae.

In 1847- 8, John Jaques and his brother-in-law, the famous chess player Howard Staunton, collaborated to create the Staunton chess set, a design which is still used to this day. They made the pieces with heavy bases and slender tops so other pieces on the board would not be hidden, and used easily recognisable symbols.

Thomas Jaques' grandson John also joined the business and is said to have invented traditional Victorian parlour games like Happy Families, Tiddlywinks, Ludo and Snakes and Ladders which the company made, along with dominoes and wooden backgammon game boards.

In the same sale, a Victorian games compendium made by W and J Milne of 126 Princes Street, Edinburgh will also be sold. The compendium includes the games of chess, cribbage, drafts, dice, dominoes and Bezique and is estimated to fetch between £200 and £300.

There is also a collection of around 50 Royal Doulton character jugs and a 1950s Continental set of painted terracotta figures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves which are estimated to fetch between £1,000 and £2,000 in total.

The bygones section features several lots of vintage fishing tackle including salmon reels and landing nets, as well as sword fish bills and edged weapons.

Meanwhile, the furniture section includes an early Victorian rosewood chiffonier estimated to fetch between £400 and £600.

A full catalogue will be available on-line a week before the sale. For more information phone (01522) 524984.

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