Austrian Coffeehouse Antique Chess Set

Lot #612. Austrian Coffeehouse Antique Chess Set

Austrian Coffeehouse Antique Chess Set

Here is a very desirable Boxwood and Ebony Austrian Coffeehouse Antique Chess Set, unweighted, circa 1900-1925. These early-20th-century Austrian coffeehouse chess sets, also known as Old Vienna or Viennese Coffeehouse chess sets, have an elegant charm and had a ubiquitous presence through parts of Europe during the early 20th Century. This one is a particularly fine example. The King stands  2-7/8″ tall and the chessmen are in excellent condition with a very attractive patine on the Boxwood.

This design is certainly influenced by Staunton pattern.  The chessmen are very durable with few, if any weak areas in the design which could be broken during spirited handling. The chessmen are quite stable on the chessboard and, as a result, these sets are quite playable. These chessmen became the standard fare in Central Europe – the lands of the Austrian monarchy as well as Germany , Switzerland , and Northern Italy. Major tournaments like Vienna 1898, Semmering 1927 and Karlsbad 1929 were played using these chess pieces. These chess sets were produced in sizes from 2″ to well over a 5″ King. They had baize base pads, but were normally not weighted. The popularity of these sets seemed to have wained after World War !!, but are still seen today in some European venues.

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