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Chinese chess set

  • #1


    My father bought some lovely chess sets from all over the world and I wonder if anyone can help me & my mom determine what they might be worth. This one is from China and I'm guessing was bought around 1980 or so. It's quite large and the pieces look to be jade and onyx. Any insights/advice would be most appreciated.

  • #2

    I know very little about non-Staunton sets. You may want to reach out to some of the better known collectors like Jon  Crumiller - perhaps they might be able to provide an assessment.

    In general, I doubt sets of this kind would fetch any significant price beyond the value of the material used, unless they are antique (which this one doesn't seem to be). Is it real jade? Does it feel cold to the touch?

  • #3

    It's not jade and it's not really worth anything sorry to say. It's quite attractive, though.

  • #4

    Too hard to tell just from a pic if its jade or not. If it is real jade there are different qualities of jade, that are prized more than others. Usually ( key word here) the darker the green the better, however luminious qualities in it are prized sometimes. However if it is color treated it lessens the value significantly. You could take it to a gemologist to be sure. That will cost you money, or you can spend money to buy the equipment needed. A vital tool is the Spectroscope, (its not necessarily cheap though). I was/and still love the study of rocks. Far from an expert, just another hobby from my youth. Good luck.

  • #5

    It's very easy to tell these are fake from the pic because it's not an uncommon set. Here it is new for $80: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Jade-Onyx-Vintage-Travel-Chess-Set-w-Silk-Board-/161116537771 They actually might be carved serpentine or soapstone; it's surprising how cheap they can do that, but they also might be some kind of resin or green glass. A jade chess set would be very rare and cost thousands of dollars.

  • #6

    Yes tmkroll, and I am very doubtful its real jade as well.  I've even seen the ones on ebay before, and buyer should always beware, but you can't really tell if its jade, or not, just from a picture. I have seen jade that looks identical to every  shade of green, that his chess pieces are as well. Yes it is probably carved resin, maybe serpentine, even soapstone, those are good guesses by you. it could even be another type of stone. It is doubtful its jade and I do agree with you on that. I think they mean jade colored to mislead people.

  • #7

    Yeah, that appears to be not real jade.  Wouldn't line my cat box with those pieces . . . 

  • #8

    Hi there flip31.  did you ever find out any more about your set?

    I just bought a set with the same box,board,and pieces quite similar. I bought it in an auction . did not pay much for the set,but really am enjoying it . I was told by the owner,that it was her father's,and that the pieces were jade and onyx . I get a kick out of the subtle differences between each piece.

  • #9

    Wow I never realuzed all these comments were here--i did actually show it to a Chinese collector and he said it was probably stone. He offered $150 for it but my mom actually died that very week and I never got back to it. It was in the estate sale for $200 (their estimate) but didn't sell so I kept it.

  • #10

    I sure am enjoying mine. When you say stone,are you refering to the dark,or light pieces?  I got my set for 20 dollars,in an auction . I felt kinda bad taking the set for 20 bucks,but the lady seemed o.k. with it. your info about the set being worth 200 puts a smile on my face.

  • #11

    by the way,sorry to hear about your mom.

  • #12

    flip31, Is it a westernized set of figurines for Xiang Qi--are there two ministers and two canon?  Or is it intended for western Chess?


  • #13

    there are no cannons in my set

  • #14

    J1965--thanks, I appreciate that. I don't think it's worth $200 not sure where they got that figure from. Probably somewhere between that and your $20 though.

    ghostofmarczy (love the name!)--no cannons or any Western-style figures at all. Does that mean anything?

  • #15
    flip31 wrote:

    ghostofmarczy (love the name!)--no cannons or any Western-style figures at all. Does that mean anything?

    I'm glad you love my name!

    If there are no cannons and only one queen, then that means it is not intended for Chinese Chess (Xiang Qi).

    I am interested in Xiang Qi. 


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