Many chess set collectors seek out old chess sets (i.e vintage) or themed chess sets because of their high value. Some themed chess sets are antique, which makes them that much more valuable. How a chess set’s worth is determined depends on a combination of factors.
A high-quality antique chess set can be worth between $1,000 and $12,000. One factor that can boost a set’s value is the maker. For instance, Staunton sets from the Victorian era, which were among the first standard sets manufactured in the mid-1800’s, are worth a lot of money. 500 sets were signed by Howard Staunton, who was the chess master of his time. Since these sets were signed by a world-renowned game player in the distant past, this makes the Staunton sets much more valuable than others.
Another quality of older, more valuable chess sets is their material. Since ivory poaching is illegal, ivory chess sets of a bygone era are extremely rare. If a given ivory set is 300 years old or more, then that makes it exponentially more collectible. If, however, an ivory set is just 50 years old, it still may be worth up to $2,000. The actual type of ivory is also a consideration in the appraisal process. If you are attempting to resell an ivory set, look around for collectors. The first buyer might be an animal rights sympathizer and hence might offer you a lower price. Obviously, silver and gold chess sets can be worth a lot as well.
Themed sets are potential investments, too. These sets range from Lord of the Rings to cowboys and Indians. Themed sets from more recent years could be worth more money later. However, if a themed set is over 300 years old, then it could be worth a lot right now. An appraiser can give you a general idea of how much money your chess set is worth.
If an antique set still has all of its pieces, then the set is worth a lot more. If you have your chess sets and boards appraised, make sure that you mention any damages such as chips, cracks, discoloration, abrasions or any other sub-par qualities. This will ensure an accurate appraisal and that you get your money’s worth should you try to resell the set. An older set without too much damage is worth a lot.