The 1885 Leipzig "Augustea" Chess Set in a Limited Edition

EfimLG47

Fellow chess collectors,

Here comes the once in a lifetime chance to own an extraordinary chess set, which brings to life one of the rarest Staunton designs ever, now available for a limited number of fellow chess collectors worldwide.

The historical model is pictured in the 1885 catalogue of German chess supplier Adolf Roegner based in Leipzig. The English Staunton pieces were still rather new and not widespread in Germany at that time. Roegner instructed a renowned atelier to design a set for him based on the English Staunton pattern. The design was then presented to an expert committe of the Leipzig "Augustea" Chess Club, the leading chess club of the city and ranking among the top chess clubs in the country. The experienced players in the "Augustea" committee reviewed and tested the set and found it to be "trefflich", which is an enthusiastic old German word meaning "splendid".

The chess exhibition "Schachpartie - Durch Zeiten und Welten" in Hamburg in 2005, curated by Prof. Hans Holländer and his wife Prof. Barbara Holländer, featured the said catalogue page, but no actual set. I concluded that few to none of the sets from 1885 survived until today, which was a reason for me to embark on a little reproduction project.

The set will be a limited edition (depending on collectors' feedback, but the maximum number will be 30 sets). The specifications will be as follows:

  • King size 10 cm
  • White pieces made of boxwood, black pieces made of ebony, all pieces buff polished
  • All pieces single weighted (kings ca. 55-60 g) and with green felts
  • In the interest of historical authenticity, I have refrained from adding extra queens
  • The same applies to the markings on the king's side. These were used by Jaques and various other English manufacturers, but they are less familiar in 19th century German sets.
  • If desired, however, additional markings or extra queens can be ordered for an additional charge. It is also possible to personalize the figures for an additional charge, e.g. by engraving a name on one or both kings.

I already have several pre-orders, so if you are interested, please send me a message or an email to holger.langer@chess-collection.de!





utpic

Ambitious and wonderful project, wishing you much success!

EfimLG47
utpic hat geschrieben:

Ambitious and wonderful project, wishing you much success!

Thank you very much!!!

UpcountryRain

EfimLG47,

Thank you for reviving this set and making it available to collectors. It is beautiful and not something one finds today.

When you get the chance, please pair it with a board that you might find appropriate. It will give those of us considering this set something further to think about or look forward to.

Congratulations on making this happen and wishing you the best!

michaelcausey7

Beautiful!!! What an amazing looking set. The kings and queens are fantastic!

magictwanger

That set will sell out fast! Great job.

EfimLG47
UpcountryRain hat geschrieben:

EfimLG47,

Thank you for reviving this set and making it available to collectors. It is beautiful and not something one finds today.

When you get the chance, please pair it with a board that you might find appropriate. It will give those of us considering this set something further to think about or look forward to.

Congratulations on making this happen and wishing you the best!

UpcountryRain,

as you already know, it was my first time working on the reproduction of a historical set. It was a great pleasure and a fantastic experience.

The six pieces shown are the sample pieces we prepared in order to finalize the design. The rest of the pieces is currently in production. As soon as we have some black pieces ready, we will show more pictures with black and white pieces together, even though it will most likely still not be a full set yet. And as soon as I receive the full sets from the manufacturer, I will show more pictures on one of my antique boards, for sure.

Cheers!

EfimLG47
michaelcausey7 hat geschrieben:

Beautiful!!! What an amazing looking set. The kings and queens are fantastic!

Thank you very much, michaelcausey7! I cannot even say, which of the pieces is my favorite. They all turned out great and they make a very elegant and harmonic set altogether.

EfimLG47
magictwanger hat geschrieben:

That set will sell out fast! Great job.

Thanks, magictwanger! Currently 5 sets still available!

theendgame3

how much?

EfimLG47
theendgame3 hat geschrieben:

how much?

theendgame3, asking price is 495,- US$ incl. shipping. Specifications as set out above.

theendgame3
EfimLG47 wrote:
theendgame3 hat geschrieben:

how much?

theendgame3, asking price is 495,- US$ incl. shipping. Specifications as set out above.

thank you, a stunning set

magictwanger

I'd think that with a limit of only 30 sets total....The asking price is quite reasonable.

Those last 5 sets will most likely be gone before my post hits chess.com

maik1988

I'll not comment on the price but I think it's an interesting set. I really like the shapes of the bishop, knight and rook and I love the single instead of double ring on the knight and rook. Having said that, I'm undecided on the king and queen and sort of but not completely liking the pawn,  which seems diminutive and which reminds me of my players series pawns. The king and queen seem sort of top heavy, too 'upright' and slightly fragile.

EfimLG47
magictwanger hat geschrieben:

I'd think that with a limit of only 30 sets total....The asking price is quite reasonable.

Those last 5 sets will most likely be gone before my post hits chess.com

We have decided to limit the set to 20 specimen to make it a real limited edition. I am convinced there will be cheaper knock offs by people copying this design sooner or later, but they will hardly be like this one.

EfimLG47
maik1988 hat geschrieben:

I'll not comment on the price but I think it's an interesting set. I really like the shapes of the bishop, knight and rook and I love the single instead of double ring on the knight and rook. Having said that, I'm undecided on the king and queen and sort of but not completely liking the pawn,  which seems diminutive and which reminds me of my players series pawns. The king and queen seem sort of top heavy, too 'upright' and slightly fragile.

maik1988, thank you for your comments, very much appreciated. We tried to be as close to the original design as possible. The biggest challenge was to translate the two dimensional engraving in the 1885 catalogue into a three dimensional actual piece, which was especially demanding for the knight. You are not the first to call the king top heavy and I guess you are right. Nevertheless, what fascinated me in this set - apart from the fact that hardly any originals seem to have survived (I managed to find and acquire one set after we started working on the reproduction, which has a 90% resemblance with the engraving AND could be traced back to Leipzig, so it might be an original or at least closely related to it) - was the obvious deviation from the ubiquitous English Staunton pattern. I know of few attempts to deviate from the Jaques design, and certainly none that can be traced back to Germany in the 19th century. There are some other prominent examples from elsewhere, in particular the BCC sets in England and the Cambridge Springs sets in the US. But for Germany or even continental Europe, this must have been one of the earliest, if not the first, attempt to bring out Staunton pieces differing from the Jaques design. Maybe from the pure perspective of a player, these pieces are not a match to the Jaques design (even though the expert committee of the "Augustea" chess club in Leipzig tested them and rated them "splendid"), but from a historical point of view these are extremely interesting.

EfimLG47
rcmacmillan hat geschrieben:
Guys, this is a historical reproduction. It’s meant to be as close to the original as possible, not “improved.” By this criteria, Holger has done a remarkable job. The pawns are what they are.

Cheers, Robert. That is the message I tried to convey in my somewhat lengthy response to maik1988.

MCH818

Im not a big fan of the king or queen either. The knight is superb. I think the set shown in the photos looks just like the original design, so that's a difficult job well done IMHO.

 

maik1988

@ EfimLG47: No, I get where you're coming from, obviously. I appreciate the fact that it is a reproduction and the main injunction to create it was to be as faithful as possible to the original. I was merely commenting on the design of the pieces from me, so from the perspective, primarily, of a player and not necessarily one who collects faithful repros. I've expressed the opinion on other reproductions undertaken over the course of the last years or so that those designs in my view were less than optimal from a player's perspective for this reason or that. But I can certainly also appreciate what's been undertaken here, I think you did a marvellous job in bringing the set from those drawings to life.

UpcountryRain

I'm kinda partial to those large top-heavy heads.