Lot #R026. Antique Selenus “Lotus Pattern” Bone Chess Set


Offered here is large Antique Selenus Lotus Pattern Chess set, natural and red-stained bone, complete with a reproduction antique chessboard. The King stands 4.6″ tall with a 1.1″ diameter base. The chess pieces are in excellent condition. The red stain is faded. Circa early 1900s.

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Antique Selenus Lotus Pattern Chess Set.

Offered here is graceful Antique Selenus Lotus Pattern Chess Set, natural and red-stained, circa early 1900s.  The King stands 4.6″ tall with a 1.1″ diameter base. The chess pieces are in excellent condition. This style was made in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Northern Europe. The standard for these designs included delicate, slender, lathe-turned bodies and bases, fitted with circular tiers resembling crowns. The Kings and Queens were distinguished by height and number of tiers. Unlike later copies of the Lotus Pattern chessmen, each piece uses fine European threads to assemble the parts rather than glue. The chess pieces are housed in a replacement wooden box, not shown. These chessmen play and display best on a chessboard with 2-0″ to 2-1/4″ squares. The red and Bone chessboard shown is included. Other suitable antique chessboard for these chessmen can be found elsewhere on this site.


The Selenus design was named after Gustavus Selenus, a pseudonym of Augustus the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Gustavus is a creative anagram of Agustus.  Selenus comes from Selene, Greek goddess of the moon, an obvious reference to Luneburg. In 1616, Augustus (Gustavus Selenus) published the first German chess book,  Das Schach- oder Königsspiel.  In addition to chess instruction, this book contained excellent illustrations of contemporary chess pieces. German chess pieces at the time tended to be slender with stacked floral crowns. The pieces became taller, thinner and more elaborate as time went on. Their floral motif has led to their being known as Garden or Tulip sets. The Selenus pattern sets were manufactured in Central Europe until around 1914. The Selenus design is one of the most elegant of the classical chessmen in use before the standardization of chess pieces ushered in with the advent of the Staunton chessmen. The revolutionary Staunton design was registered by Nathaniel Cooke and launched, in September of 1849 by John Jaques of London.


Additional information

Weight5 lbs
Dimensions24 × 12 × 6 in