Early Romanian Coffeehouse Chessmen.
Offered here is a set of Early Romanian Coffeehouse Chessmen. The King stands 3-1/4″ tall with a 1-1/4″ diameter base. The chessmen are crafted from Natural and Black Lacquered wood. The chess pieces are unweighted and unfelted, as was typical for most Romanian Coffeehouse chess sets. The chessmen play and display best on a chessboard with 1-7/8″ to 2-1/8″ squares. The pieces are in excellent condition and have developed a pleasant patina. The set dates to around 1900. The antique chessboard shown is not included but can be purchased elsewhere on this site.
Victorian 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 extending into the 20th Century.
Romanian Chess Pieces from the turn of the last century often show a lot of similarities with Vienna Coffee House chess sets. Since Transylvania was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire it was natural that similar Coffeehouse sets were a fairly common site It would seem likely that Coffeehouse sets were soon produced directly in Romania. Today, the tradition of producing chess sets can be seen in the County of Cluj, in the villages of Izvorul Crișului, Ciucea and Negreni. Chess Sets are commonly sold through intermediaries along several tourist routes, going from Bucharest to Tansylvania through the mountain tourist resorts in Valea Prahovei.
This design has both French and English Staunton DNA, nut all religious references have been expunged from these designs. The chessmen are very durable with few, if any, weak areas in the design which could be broken during spirited handling. Due to their broad bases, the chessmen are quite stable and, as a result, these sets are quite playable and have a pleasant board presence.