Missing piece of ancient chess set sells for £735,000

  • 13 Jul - 19 Jul, 2019
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

A piece of a famous medieval chess set that had been missing for almost 200 years has sold at auction for £735,000.

The warder – equivalent to a rook on a modern chess board – is part of a set known as the Lewis Chessmen that was made from walrus ivory in the late 12th or early 13th century.

It was bought for £5 in 1964 by an antiques dealer, and passed down through the family, who had no idea it was so special until they took it to Sotheby’s auction house to be valued.

Regarded as the most famous chess pieces to have survived from the medieval world, it is thought the Lewis Chessmen may have been underground for 500 years.

They could have been buried, possibly by a merchant, to avoid taxes after being shipwrecked.