Lot #447. Natural Mammoth Staunton Chessmen
Natural Mammoth Staunton Chessmen.
This reproduction is the second set of 1849 style Mammoth Staunton Chessmen, recreated by noted Staunton authority Frank Camaratta and first offered by The House of Staunton in 2002. This is set #002! Crafted from 20,000-year old natural and polished Woolly Mammoth tusk, the pieces capture the exquisite design and proportions of the original Staunton pattern Chessmen, registered by Nathaniel Cooke and produced by Jaques of London in 1849. The dark army is left unstained, showing the beautiful, natural occurring light and dark patination. A full Club-sized Chess set, it features a 4.4″ King with a 2.0″ diameter base. Mammoth tusk is a naturally dense material that does not require additional weighting. The Chess pieces are hand carved, dated and signed by crafted by renowned Mammoth artist Oleg Raikis and master carver Igor Astafiev. All 34 Mammoth Staunton Chessmen are crafted from the highest grade of Mammoth tusk. The dark army has been stained the perfect shade of matte black. The chess pieces do not have base pads, but rather are left uncovered as has been the praxis for chessmen of this type over the centuries.
The chessmen are housed in a luxurious, compartmented, gold-tooled, black leather casket especially designed by Frank Camaratta to protect these heirloom quality masterpieces. The interior is lined in tan suede leather with two matching pillows included to further cushion and protect these irreplaceable . The upper tray is removable.
The Mammoth Staunton Chessmen consist of 34 pieces, including four Queens, an innovation introduced by Frank Camaratta in 1993 which has now become a World-wide standard praxis. The chess pieces and casket are like new. The chess pieces play and display best of a chessboard with 2-1/2″ squares. A fine selection of suitable chessboards can be found on this site at https://chessantiques.com/product-category/chessboards/.
History Of The Chess Pieces.
The Mammoth byproducts are excavated from the permafrost of the Siberian tundra, which the woolly mammoth inhabited for more than 160,000 years. During the last ice age, the mammoth went extinct as the direct result of rapidly plummeting temperatures. The dry, cold environment of Siberia combined with the massive sheets of ice from the ice age created the ideal environment for the preservation of Mammoth byproducts. The woolly Mammoths have been entombed under the Siberian permafrost ever since, waiting to be unearthed.
For more than 2,000 years, Mammoth tusks have been traded and remain a highly prized commodity across the world. While that demand for the Mammoth byproducts has always been higher than its supply, it began its steep rise when the international ivory ban was enacted. This agreement banned all sales of new Elephant or Walrus Ivory, in an effort to protect the animals from extinction. As a result, Mammoth became the only type of animal-based ivory that is exempt from the international trade restrictions. Over the past few years, the price of Mammoth tusks have more than tripled, due largely to the unprecedented demand for luxury goods from such emerging countries as India and China. This trend is expected to continue. Less than one percent of the Mammoth byproducts harvested are of suitable quality for the manufacturing of Chess pieces, thus adding the production costs and long-term value.
The Mammoth Ivory 1849 Staunton Chessmen exemplify the perfect combination of distinct beauty and collectability. The design, accuracy, quality and craftsmanship of Mammoth Ivory 1849 Staunton Chessmen is UNMATCHED by any set of Chessmen at any price. Nothing even comes close!
About the Sculptor.
Oleg Raikis has a strong affinity with chess, having been an ambitious tournament player in his youth. His love for the game is now an inspiration for his art. Aside from his sculptures, Oleg has designed and created many chess sets. They combine the creative imaginative skill of a master craftsman with the understanding of the practical requirements needed for a set of chessmen to be acceptable as an efficient tool for an ancient Royal game. Oleg Raikis’ impressive sculptures, carved from hard woods and mammoth ivory, were displayed in the international exhibition, ‘Sculptor 1991’. Since then his work has been constantly on show, including exhibiting in Galleries in Germany, Britain and the States.
Oleg’s artistic and practical chess sets, have been much admired within the international chess collector community, where they take a proud place in collections in Russia, the USA. Canada, Germany, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, and England. You are not likely to see contemporary chess set designs equal to the work of Oleg Raikis.