Lot #673. Elegant Danish Selenus Spiral Chessmen by Oleg Raikis


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Elegant Danish Selenus Spiral Chessmen by Oleg Raikis.

Offered here is an elegant, elaborately carved set of Danish Spiral Selenus Chessmen. These magnificent chess pieces are crafted from 20,000 year-old Mammoth ivory, Natural and Ecru-stained. The King stands an statuesque 5-1/2″ tall with a 1-3/8″ diameter base. The headpieces of each of the chess pieces rest atop very delicate and intricately carved open spiral balusters. The masterful skill and workmanship required to produce such a spectacular affect defies description. These chessmen were crafted in the workshop of renowned sculptor and Mammoth Ivory carver, Oleg Raikis and date to 2004. Raikis’ chess carvings are internationally recognized and are highly prized and sought-after by chess collectors Worldwide. The chessmen are in as new condition. For our extensive selection of antique, traditional and unique chessboards, please click here.

Some History.

The Selenus design is a style of chess set in use before the standardization of chess pieces that happened after the Staunton chess set was launched in 1849 by games manufacturer John Jaques of London. The Selenus sets were typical of sets produced in Denmark, Austria and Germany. They are named after Gustavus Selenus, the pen name of Augustus the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg Selenus was the author of the Chess or the King’s Game (German: Das Schach- oder Königsspiel), an important chess manual published in the 17th century. The standard included delicate lathe turned bases and shafts and tiers with circlets resembling crowns or Crow’s Nests. For this reason, Selenus style chessmen are often referred to as “Crow’s Nest” chessmen. The ranks of the Pieces were distinguished by heights, the number of tiers and sometimes by symbols.

The Selenus chessmen are sometimes referred to as “Garden Chess Sets” because their theme frequently consisted of “formal flower gardens” – Kings and Queens were Fountains; Bishops and Pawns were flowers; Knights were gentle horses; and Rooks became civic towers instead of battlements. In England they were frequently called “Tulip Chess Sets”.

Mammoth Ivory.

The Mammoth tusk is 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 Tusk has been traded and it remains a highly prized commodity across the world. While the 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 tusks 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 has 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 tusks harvested is of suitable quality for the manufacturing of Chess pieces, thus adding the production costs and long-term value.

Additional information

Weight12 lbs
Dimensions16 × 14 × 12 in

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