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I'm trying to get a better handle on who makes the finest chess pieces available. Most of the advice I see around here points people to House of Staunton even though they aren't always the most cost-effective, suggesting a bias towards quality, which is laudible. However, I also see many collectors praising the timeless value of genuine Jaques of London sets. Which leads me to ask which is better, at least in terms of quality.
The most expensive HOS set listed for sale on their website is the 4.4" Golden Collector Luxury set at $1995, and HOS claims it is meant to "...replicate the design and proportions of the original Staunton pattern Chessmen, registered by Nathaniel Cooke in March of 1849 and first manufactured by Jaques of London in September 1849." Which makes me wonder why, if one is interested in Jaques of London sets, one wouldn't just buy a set from Jaques of London?
The most expensive JOL set at thechessstore.com is the 4" 1854 Edition set for $2299. Like the HOS set, it comes with a wood box and a certificate/plaque of authenticity. Even though the pieces are smaller, the extra $300 at least buys you JOL provenance. Of course, there are even more expensive sets available directly from jaqueslondon.co.uk, but I'm assuming if you're willing to spend more than $5000 on a single chess set, which I am not, there are even more exotic/rare/prestigious places to look. But I'm not interesting in talking about them.
I also see that the JOL 1972 Fischer Spassky 3.5" Staunton Chess Set at $899 (boxwood/ebony) claims to be "...a reproduction of the Jaques chess set used in 1972 World Championship between Fischer and Spassky." Yet, the HOS 3.75" Reykjavik II Series Chess set at $299 (boxwood/ebony) is described as "...an exact reproduction of the Chess set used by the legendary American Grandmaster Bobby Fischer when he won the 1972 World Chess Championship..." How can this be when JOL says the set they created for the 1972 match was a 3.5" set? Which set is the more "authentic"?
I am considering investing in an "heirloom" set some day, and am curious which is deemed the more prestigious source for such a set, HOS or JOL? Which is likely to be the higher quality set? Which is considered the best value for one's high-end chess set dollar? I am really fond of the Fischer-Spassky (Reykjavik) design, but neither HOS nor JOL make a 4" or 4.4" set in this design due to the desire to be historically accurate. But 3.5" sets don't seem to be (big enough to be) regarded as "luxury" collector sets. Would a 3.5" Jaques of London Fischer-Spassky (reproduction) set be considered merely a very good set but not a luxury heirloom set?
I'm really curious to know what luxury chess set collectors around here think of the differences between HOS and JOL when it comes to these high-end sets.
Wow. I wish I could help you. I really, really do. I wish I knew enough about either set to offer you an opinion, or some advice.But I don't own any of the sets you mention, nor do I know anything about them. I wish I did. I own 40 chess sets (wait... 39 chess sets... I gave one to my brother a few months ago) and the most expensive one is probably in the neighborhood of $125.00. That's it. :(My chess sets and the sets you describe live in different neighborhoods.When and if you ever purchase either set, take some nice pics and report back here, and let us know how you like it.
Jacques of London is the most prestigious, but I would be very happy to have a House of Staunton set.
I have the Reykjavik Prestige set from HOS in Ebony and Blood Rosewood - http://www.houseofstaunton.com/product_p/fs2combo.htm Its a NICE set, but probably not really "heirloom" worthy. Looks like it sells on their HOS site for $599 but I got the set for only $130 SHIPPED from the HOS ebay auction. I really REALLY like it.
I know there are some folks around here with luxury collector sets who are familiar with both companies. Are they all on vacation?
If money's no object.
Actually, here's a Jaques set from 1862-5 for $1700 US
I've recently been shopping for chess sets, found one I liked for about $350 altogether, but my favorite, if money was no object, is made up of these components:
Even if your tastes differ, they have lots to look at that may give you some ideas. As for prestige, I have no idea, I just know what I like.
BTW, this is what I settled on for the moment: http://www.thechessstore.com/product/GSD300DP/Grande-Staunton-in-Red-Sandalwood-with-Bud-Rosewood-Molded-Board---3-King.html
Good luck, and have fun shopping.
One of the nice features is that it is lead weighted. I don't think Brittish law allows the manufacture of lead weighted sets now.
I'm thinking that I may just get a 3.75" boxwood/ebony Reykjavik set from HOS as my main "nice" set, and then save up for an antique Jaques set like one of the ones referred to by batgirl as a separate "collector heirloom" set.
The Reykjavik HOS set is nice. You'll definitely be quite happy with it.
A bit late but, here's my 2 cents worth. The Reykjavik set used in '72 was a JOL set with a 3.5" king. The set offered by HOS looks the same but sports a 3.75" king. Hence it being called the Reykjavik II. In regard to quality there is little differance other then the king height.
I too am picking a heirloom set and will choose one of JOL's offerings. No reason other then personal choice.
did you buy that Sandalwood Grande Staunton from the chessstore? Are you happy with it? Would you post some pics. I thought it looked quite massive and I wasn't sure I'd like it. tell me what you think, how you find it. thanks.
Yes I did, and yes I am. The pieces are a darker color than on their site (not that I can find them anymore), but still a good red. The board color is pretty close to their site picture. Picture from an iPhone 4S camera, with my cat for scale:
If anyone recongizes this position, you get a trophy.
The Jaques of London name has more prestige than HOS. I don't know how the quality of the two brands compares. I have an antiqued NY 1924 set from HOS that's very nice but it's not in the heirloom class. I'm looking for another set but I'm still undecided what type. I'd like a working set for practice and play but, like everyone else, I'd like a really nice set.
<Psst, Batgirl, don't show people that site. I've been trying to talk myself into (or out of) one of two sets they have for some time. I'd be disappointed if someone bought one before I could talk myself out of it.>
thanks Lucidish-Lux. Very classy.
I have an original Jacques, boxwood and ebony from the 70's. Beautiful set. Bought it new and have always been very proud of it.
But the House of Staunton 'Collector' is prettier, carved better, and more closely approximates the original Jacques pattern registered by Cook. Frank Camaratta is a genuine scholar about the 'Staunton' design Jacques originally produced. I have more than one of them, purchased more than 20 years ago. House of Staunton now has several different patterns available in their top end line. The only sets I've seen that I like better are some of the original Jacques 1850 sets in ivory. Jon Crumhiller has a great collection with photos available on line. I wish Camaratta would produce a set something like these with the broader, shorter bases. http://www.crumiller.com/chess/chess_pages/staunton/Jaques11thSet.htm I'd also like to see a low priced set in faux ivory
these pieces are much nicer than anything hos or chessstore carries. And their board is also nicer than anything those two places carry. Check it out.
Mmmmmm real ivory. Can't get that anymore. Beautiful example there.... very nice.
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