ANTIQUES DEALER HAD NO IDEA WHAT HIS $6 PURCHASE REALLY WAS
So it’s been years. But I remember sometime in the 1980’s hearing about someone finding a $4 million diamond in a pile of glass at a Virginia antique shop. The lucky buyer bought it for $15! So this is similar. But it’s not another literal diamond in the rough. It’s a chess piece! But more specifically, it’s one of the infamous (well, maybe more so now) Lewis Chessmen. An antiques dealer bought this lonely chess piece in Scotland in 1964. He paid a whopping $6 dollars for the little guy. But despite his profession, the dealer had no idea he had just bought one of the most valuable chess pieces in the world.
SITTING IN A DRAWER FOR 55 YEARS, CHESS PIECE COULD BE WORTH AS MUCH AS $1.3 MILLION
So that might just explain why it sat in a drawer for more than half a century. The Lewis Warder, as experts and enthusiasts are calling it, is expected to be worth as much as $1.3 million at a Sotheby’s auction. The now deceased antiques dealer’s family wish to remain anonymous. But it was after his death that the man’s daughter took the piece to Sotheby’s Auction House for appraisal. The Sotheby’s expert who first saw it, Alexander Kader, immediately recognized the little carving. He said, “Oh my goodness, it’s one of the Lewis Chessmen.”
LEWIS CHESSMEN HAVE BEEN SHROUDED IN MYSTERY FOR 700 YEARS, WHAT ARE THEY REALLY?
So just what are the Lewis Chessmen? Experts believe an artist carved them from walrus tusk in Trondheim, Norway, sometime in the 12th or 13th centuries. They were first discovered on the Isle of Lewis (hence their English name) in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in the year 1831. But for whatever reason, their discovery is still quite the mystery. The find was of 93 pieces in total. But the set was missing one knight and four of these “warders.” Today, 82 of those pieces are in London’s British Museum. The other 11 reside in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. So finding one of the missing warders is quite the news.
Maybe go look thru old family storage? Who knows what you just might find.