Lot 839. Jaques Paulsen Chessmen in Original Carton Pierre Casket


A set of unweighted Boxwood and Ebony Jaques Paulsen Chessmen in its original numbered Carton Pierre Box Entered No. 2703. The King stands 3-1/2″ with a 1-5/8″ diameter base and is inscribed “Jaques London” on the rim. Circa 1853

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Jaques Chessmen in Its Numbered Carton Pierre Box, circa 1853

Offered here is a set of Jaques Chessmen in its Numbered Carton Pierre Box with a yellow label bearing the Entered No. 2703. The King stands 8.9 cm. The Boxwood and Ebony pieces are unweighted and felted. The White King’s base is inscribed “Jaques London” on the rim and the Kingside Rooks and Knights bear the red King’s crown stamp. The Knights are very finely carved with a very attractive serpentine silhouette. This has been identified as the Paulsen style in the Camaratta Codex. The black Knights are ebony, indicating a later Paulsen set, circa 1853. The set is housed in its original, expertly restored Carton Pierre casket, lined in burgundy velvet, with the original yellow numbered label.


Louis Paulsen was born at Blumberg, in Germany, on June 15th, 1833, and at an early age was taught to play chess by his father, Dr. Carl Paulsen. In 1854 he emigrated to America, and with his brother Ernest, established a business at Dubuque, in Iowa.

The Paulsen family owned a potato farm in native Nassengrund, Germany.  Because of the potato blight that devasted the European crops in the 1840s and 50s, Louis, along with his brother Ernst and sister Amalie, emigrated to the U.S., settling in Dubuque, Iowa, where they operated a distillery, raised tobacco and made cigars from 1854 to 1861. The scientific cultivation of potatoes was his famiy business.

Louis Paulsen was a contemporary of Paul Morphy. In 1857 he took part in the First American Congress, finishing second behind the American Prodigy Paul Morphy.  Morphy and Paulsen were early masters of blindfold chess, having played as many as 10 simultaneous blindfold games.

Paulsen introduced a large number of opening ideas. These include the Scotch Game, the Goering Gambit, the Paulsen Attack, the Paulsen variation of the Vienna Game, and the Four Knights Opening. As Black, he introduced the Boleslavsky variation, the Paulsen Defense of the Kieseritzky Gambit, and the Paulsen Variation of the Sicilian Defense. He introduced the Pirc Defense and improved Black’s play in the Muzio Gambit and in several lines of the Sicilian Defense.

Louis Paulsen was a World class player, placing 2nd in the 1857 American Congress behind Morphy, second in the 1862 London International behind Adolf Anderssen, 1st in the 1869 Amburgo tournament, ahead of Anderssen and Zukertort, 5th in 1870 Baden-Baden, 1st in 1871 Krefeld ahead of Anderssen, 5th in 1873 Vienna, 1st in 1877 Leipzig ahead of Anderssen and Zukertort, 1st in 1878 Frankfurt ahead of Anderssen, 2nd in 1879 Leipzig, 1st in 1880 Braunchsweig.

By 1880 his tournament results deteriorated. Louis Paulsen died in Germany on July 19th, 1891


Additional information

Weight8 lbs
Dimensions14 × 12 × 12 in

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