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Hello again. As promised here is a review of my second HOS chess set won on ebay. The first was an HOS Imperial Collector in Ebony & Boxwood won on ebay. I kept watching the auctions to see what was trending and was surpised to see certain sets going for a fraction of the cost of retail, even way less than I paid for my Imperial Collector set.
My next favorite set after the Imperial Collector and Collector sets are the Morphy sets. I had seen a couple of these sell for just over $150 in Ebony & Boxwood. So last week as yet another set was in its final moments of auction I put in a bid and ended up winning for $161.
The set arrived on Thursday (after winning late Sunday evening and paying right away with PayPal). I opened the set up today and took some photos. They are not quite as good as the photos from my last review but here goes.
As with my previous set, they arrived well packaged in an outer box with packing peanuts (hate those things) and an inner box with foam cutouts. Here's what the inner box looks like:
I opened the box and saw the first layer, the boxwood pieces. Everything looked fine. The tops of the Queens were wrapped in protective foam:
Then I looked at the next layer, the ebony pieces - uh oh, someone had a rough ride somewhere along the way!
I quickly examined all the pieces as time was a factor and only found one glaring casualty (so far), a pawn with a broken collar. But from my previous experience with HOS customer service, I am not worried at all. Here's the poor little guy:
The first thing that jumped out at me once I had the whole set out on display is just how BEEFY the set is! While the Collector and Imperial Collector sets are regal, refined, even elegant, the Morphy set seems hardy and rugged - built for battle! Wine vs. Beer! This is good because this is going to be my travel set. Here's a couple board views:
Now I'll stack up some pieces side by side with the two sets so you can see what I mean. The Morphy pieces are always on the left, Imperial Collector on the right. Kings:
Of course they come with the Certificate of Authenticity and the metal plate for the coffer, should you win one on eBay - which of course I have done. Notice the serial number on the Morphy set, only 106. The Imperial Collector set numbered up in the 10,000 range:
And since my Imperial Collector set is busy being used to play a perpetual game with my wife, I'll house the Morphy set in the beautiful red elm burl fitted coffer until I get my HOS deluxe bag and folding board for on the road play. Here's a few shots of the fitted coffer:
All in all, I'm very pleased with the Morphy set. I'm going to go over the entire set with a fine toothed comb and magnification, then I'll contact HOS customer service about getting the broken Pawn and anything else I find replaced but I don't forsee any problems. If you can pick up one of these sets for under $200 it's a steal in my opinion.
In the meantime, I'm still watching ebay, and I'm not done! I might need a Collector set in Rosewood, or maybe something in Blood Rosewood - or both! Stay tuned!!!
I think it looks like a good set. I do like the knight of the Imperial. How where did you get it at? I graduate from college tomorrow and should be getting some graduation money. A nice chess set might be in order. I have a nice wood board, but the wooden pieces I got with it are not the best. I have a couple of good painted, themed sets, but I prefer the staunton over everything since there is no confusion over what is what. I have 2 sets and the knights, bishops, and rooks are not marked.
ebay! Search House of Staunton - they run several auctions every week that end on either Saturday or Sunday night.
Nice pieces. Especially Knights, reminds me Elvis Presley :D
Interesting, nice sets.
Fantastic photos, thank you. I should post the Zukertort one when it arrives maybe next week, they said it was limited to 50, so should be interesting.
I bid on a burl box, but didn't win so I got one of the mahogany ones.
I actually dislike the knights. The Murphy knights looks undead and I think the hair is funky on the others.
BTW, where's that w/green chessboard from? HoS?
The chessboard I bought a long time ago. I'm pretty sure I bought it from the USCF store, which is basically the same stuff as HOS. It does seem to be identical to the one on the HOS website. It was a toss up at the time between the green one and the blue one. I liked the blue one a little better aesthetically speaking, but I was playing a lot on the green vinyl boards and was very used to the green/white color combo. I really like it now as the color is perfect for causing the pieces to really stand out. I wish them made a folding version for travel!
"The Murphy knights looks undead"
I'd kinda like to have a zombie chess set. Give new and rich meaning to "eating pawns".
Update: Shortly after posting the original review at the top I went over the whole set with a 'fine tooth comb', basically a good flashlight and magnification - the little magnifying glass on my Swiss Army knife. Don't laugh - I do material inspection for a living and use this little magnifier a LOT. It's approximately 7X.
Anyway, I found two more defects, both also on ebony pieces. I guess the rough ride noted in the ebony pieces' tray yielded few more problems - a Knight with a very small area of damage to its eye socket and a pawn with a minor dent area that I couldn't even get to photograph well. The damage to the Knight was so small that it wasn't apparent to the naked eye but was clearly there under the magnifier. Once I knew it was there it could be seen with the naked eye. Here's a photo of the Knight:
So I contacted HOS customer service about the three damaged ebony pieces and they emailed right back apologizing about the damaged pieces and said they would send out replacements immediately, which they did. They arrived a couple days later. The pawns were perfect but the replacement Knight while undamaged had a ridiculously large area of light brown grain running up its side covering almost the entire right side of the Knight's face. Since I prefer my ebony pieces to be as jet black as possible, I emailed HOS CS back and have requested to return this piece to exchange for another one. Here's a photo of the replacement Knight (I used flash to help bring out the light brown area better, not that I really needed to!):
I await their response but I am quite sure that they will accomodate me. I'm a little disappointed that they would even send out this piece. All pieces were wrapped in foam so it's possible that they just have a bunch of replacement pieces in bins and do not check them before they send them out. Maybe some people don't mind their ebony pieces with the occasional natural light grain but I do. I got a replacement Queen for my last set for this issue that had much less light grain than this Knight has.
The lesson here folks is to make sure you check all your pieces after you get them with a good light source and at least a little magnification. Flaws that can't be readily seen by the naked eye can be easily seen with something as simple as a Swiss Army knife magnifying glass. HOS stands by their products and are a delight to work with.
I suppose you are right. I love the natural wood grain of most types of wood - elm burl, flame maple, bird's eye maple, etc. But when it comes to ebony chess pieces, the reason we buy ebony and pay the premium price is to have all the pieces be as jet black as possible. At least that is the case for me! If I wanted to see beautiful wood grain patterns, I'd buy a set in Rosewood, which usually goes for much less than ebony!!
Is the Morphy set bathtub proof?
Alright, with the right person, I'd play bathtub checkers. I'd be worried about the pieces swelling from the water, causing them to crack.
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