The Best Antique Chess Sets

Did you know that in the entire globe there are at least 600 million chess players? Now you do. Additionally, 70% of the world’s adult population admits playing chess at least once in a lifetime. Pretty fascinating, right?

However, there are only a handful of brick and mortar stores dedicated to special chess sets. Consequently, many chess enthusiasts have now turned to online shops to acquire antique sets. But we all know the limitations that come with online shopping. Chief among the limitations being not able to tell whether you are buying the right thing until you have it delivered. It is also quite a task determining what can be categorized as antique and what is not. It’s quite a dilemma not only for beginners but also for seasoned chess players.

If you intend to buy your first or hundredth antique chess, an in-depth analysis and buying guide will do you no harm. That’s precisely what these reviews and guide are all about. First of all, I will walk you through reviews for the hottest antique chess sets in 2019. I will rank them for you from the best to the most affordable set. To the benefits of beginners, I will also take you through a ride of considerations and questions you should ask before committing your money. Finally, you will have my two cents on what is good or not. Does that sound like something you would be interested in? Come with me, and I will make it worthwhile.

The Best Antique Chess Sets 2019: The Sincere Reviews

There is much going into buying a chess set. A lot more is needed when purchasing an antique chess set. A single misstep and your money go down the drain. The fact that there is a galore of options in the market right now does not help your situation. You can be lost trying to find a suitable set for your preferences. That needs not to be the case anymore. In this section, I have done the heavy lifting for you. After extensive research, consulting with chess experts, and going over hundreds of customer reviews; I present to you the best antique chess sets you can buy in 2019.

I know time is not always on our side. If you are in a hurry and like to shoot straight to the options, the summary table will do you a big favor. For the rest of us who need details about each set, let us go all the way to the last full stop.

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​​Best Antique

​The Camaratta Cooke Series Antique Wood Chess Set

“​Lorem Ipsum”

​Mid-Range Antique

​Florentine Di Scacchi Antique Home Chess

“​Lorem Ipsum”

​Best Budget Antique

​The Calvert Antique Chess Set with in-built Box

“​​Iconic Isle of Lewis chess pieces on a fine Santos Palisander chessboard from Spain

Affordable Antique

​The Roman Antique Chess Set

“​​Iconic Isle of Lewis chess pieces on a fine Santos Palisander chessboard from Spain

Affordable Antique

​The Old Polish Relic Chess Set

“​​Iconic Isle of Lewis chess pieces on a fine Santos Palisander chessboard from Spain

Affordable Antique

​​The Brown Ambassador Antique Chess Set

“​​Iconic Isle of Lewis chess pieces on a fine Santos Palisander chessboard from Spain

​Best ​Lewis Chess Set

1. ​​Best of Lewis Chess Set-3.5" King-Metal

What separates the Isle of Lewis chess set from the rest is originality. There's no misrepresentation or modification, and all the historical aspects match the original pieces.

That said if you aim to buy the exact copy without any historical loss. Then the Isle of Lewis Chess set is for you. You'll enjoy the famous chess game while you reflect on the rich history of chess.

The chessmen and Chessboard have a long-lasting, durable material to allow you to play the chess game for a lifetime. Its chess pieces come from cast materials having an antiqued finish that resembles the ancient style.

The modeling of the pieces features a humanoid figure that represents the sets. The Isle of Lewis chess set comes with two options for purchase. You can either buy the chess pieces alone or buy them with a matching chessboard and chess box.

If you are a player who loves and appreciate authenticity, there's a replica of Isle of Lewis chess set. Most of its pieces are from the original brown and cream colors. The beauty of having a metal chess set is because of its durability and luxury.

Its chessboard size is 2.25 inches, the king size is 3.5 inches, and the King's diameter base is 4.4cm. This is an exact dimension of the original chess set. The board also comes with 32 chess pieces in total.


​​Best of Lewis Chess Set-3.5" King-Metal

5 of 5 Stars

2. ​Best High-End Lewis Chess Set

It is the most expensive Lewis chess set. The chess set comes from the original collection of Norse chess pieces. Those are the few of medieval chess sets discovered in the outer Hebrides in Scotland. Those pieces are made from Buffalo bone materials.

The chess pieces are handmade by artisans and carved in buffalo bones. The Chessboard is large compared to other Isle of lewis chess set. It measures 23" with 2.25" squares. The King size is similar to other Isle of lewis chess set. He measures 3.5 inches high with a 1.75" diameter base.

The Chessboard is a beautiful polished finish featuring a grand solid walnut and maple board having a raised frame border. That means the chess set was built to last.

Its pieces resemble the ancient art, which gives it a distinctive and majestic look. That's why it is a reproduction of its original collection of ancient Norse Chess Pieces.


​Best High-End Lewis Chess set

5 of 5 Stars

3. ​Best Resin Isle of Lewis Chess Set: Cardinal Red Isle Pieces on Palsander

This is a stylish Santos Palisander and Maple veneered chess set originating from Spain. Craftsmen at Berkeley Chess wanted to have a correct representation of the Isle of lewis chessmen sculptures.

So they decided to create an iconic excellent chess set with a rich history. The Chess set is made from Walrus ivory and whales teeth found in Uig on the Isle of lewis. 

The original hoard discovered in Uig consisted of 78 chess pieces among other 15 artifacts which were showcased at Scottish Antiques Society.

The Chessboard is a matte finish featuring Palisander wood sculptures. That explains why it is a lovely pair with Rosewood. Its playing surface has a high-quality veneer to protect the wood and solidify the matte finish.

The Chessboard has the same dimension as the original set. It measures 21 5/8" x 21 5/8" x 1/2" (21.63") while its square base is 2.13 inches. The King size is still the same the following dimension 3.5 inches and 1 7/8 inches.

The price of the Chess set is a bit decent close to the best Isle of Lewis chess set. The cardinal red Isle of pieces of Palsander chess set is a reproduction of the original chess set.


Best Resin Isle of Lewis Chess Set

​Iconic Isle of Lewis chess pieces on a fine Santos Palisander chessboard from Spain

5 of 5 Stars

​Lewis Chess Set Guide

1) ​History of the Original Isle of Lewis Chess Set

The Isle of Lewis chess set is believed to have been made in Trondheim, Norway about AD 1150-1200. During this period, the western Isle, the place where these pieces were found was part of Norway Kingdom but not Scotland.

Those pieces were buried to keep them safe on the way to Ireland to be traded. Those pieces have a strong cultural and political connection between the Kingdom of the British Isles and Scandinavian. They were critical clues for that.

First, In Trondheim, a broken queen was found during excavating. Those pieces might have been broken when it was made. Second, the carving of similar styles was also found in the Nidans Cathedral and some in Norwegian shields.

Of the 93 chess pieces of found, 11 pieces are in Edinburgh(National Museum of Scotland), and 82 chess pieces are in British Museum.

The hoards consist of chess pieces made from Walrus Ivory and whale's teeth. Those pieces were in the form of seated kings and queens, Bishops, Knights on their mounts, standing wanders, and paws.

The chessmen represented the social hierarchy and conveyed the status of those represented. The hoard had 14 'table man' gaming pieces and buckle.

There's a huge possibility the chess set belonged to a business merchant who was traveling from Norway to Ireland. That's because they were so many pieces found along the way.

2) ​​Designs and Appearance of Lewis Chess Set

The Isle of Lewis chess set is made from Walrus Ivory.  The Northern Europe Walrus ivory for luxury carvings. They used Narrow tusk to make gaming pieces. When you view those pieces, their appearance looks strange and comical.

For instance, the queens appear to be resting in sorrowful states with their hands on their face. Rook casts have a sidelong glance with bulging eyes. Historians argue that their appearance wasn't meant to be funny. They were a sign of strength, ferocity, and pensive wisdom.

3) ​Ownership Of Lewis Chess Set

On 11 April 1831, Ryric exhibited Lewis chess set on the  Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe purchased 10, and other chessmen were sold on behalf of the British Museum. Kirkpatrick later added a bishop to his collection and then sold all his pieces to  Lord Londesborough.

The same pieces belong to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe were later sold to the Society of Antiques of Scotland. The Society then decided to donate the pieces to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. You can always find those pieces in the National Museum of Scotland.