Later Antique Washington Style Chessmen

Lot #474. Later Antique Washington Style Chessmen

Later Antique Washington Style Chessmen.

Antique Washington Style English Chessmen
Washington Chessmen

This offering is an example of a later set of Antique Washington Style Chessmen. The chess pieces are natural and Cochineal-stained Ivory. The King stands 3-3/8″ tall with a 1.3″ diameter base. The Royal chessmen are similar to the Barleycorn in design. The Kings and Queens feature  full, slightly tapered barrel bodies mounted atop urn-shaped pedestals. The Rooks are pedestal-mounted rusticated towers with staffs. The Bishops and Pawns have self-similar Urn-like pedestals. These Antique Washington Style Chessmen are the style as you would see on sets made during the early part of the 19th century and are often referred to “Washington” style chess pieces due to their resemblance to chessmen used by George Washington (See image ).  These are authentic antique chessmen that will make a fine display. Except for the occasional age-related hairline fissure, these circa 1820 chess pieces are in excellent condition. The red stain is still vibrant and the natural chessmen have a  very pleasant “antique” patina. These fine antique chessmen play and display best on a chessboard with 1-3/4″ or 1-7/8″ squares. The early Victorian Period folding chessboard shown is not included. The chessmen are housed in a replacement wooden box, not shown. For a suitable chessboard, please visit our extensive chessboard selection.

Cochineal Dye. To create the red dye, Carminic acid is extracted from the female cochineal insects and is treated to produce carmine, which can yield shades of red such as crimson and scarlet. The body of the insect is 19–22% carminic acid. The insects are processed by immersion in hot water or exposure to sunlight, steam, or the heat of an oven. Each method produces a different color that results in the varied appearance of commercial cochineal. It takes about 80,000 to 100,000 insects to make one kilogram of cochineal dye.

Note: Several States have either enacted or have pending legislation restricting the sale or purchase of antique Ivory artifacts. Please check with your State Government before placing an order for any antique ivory from this website. International Trade in all forms of Elephant Ivory is strictly prohibited.


The term Barleycorn, when applied to chessmen, is widely used for a range of English Playing chess sets made primarily, but not uniquely, in England during the 19th and early 20th centuriesThis ubiquitous chess set design is supposedly derived from the shape of foliate decorations on the Kings and Queens. Many Barleycorn sets have decorations resembling the leaves of barley or other similar embellishments. However, many more lack these decorative embellishments, but still retain the Barleycorn moniker. Barleycorn pattern Chess Sets first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century and were in common use through the early 20th Century.

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