900-Year-Old Chess Piece to be Auctioned in London

lewis chessman models

Purchased for just a few dollars five decades earlier, this medieval chess piece is set to go on auction for over $1 million dollars.

This item was discovered when a Scottish family took the game piece to Sotheby’s, a British American company specializing in decorative art, real estate, and jewelry auctions.

Sotheby determined that this was no ordinary chess piece, but a part of a set of 93 pieces carved from walrus ivory. The set was first found in 1832 on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Of the original 93 pieces, 11 are housed at the National Museum of Scotland and 82 are in the British Museum in London.

This piece is a 3.5-inch figure of a bearded man wielding a sword. It is said that this is the equivalent to a rook in chess.

These chess pieces are estimated to be over 900 years old and originating from the Viking era.

Before it’s recent discovery, the Lewis Chessman was housed with an antique dealing family in Scotland. The piece was purchased by the family in 1965 for 6 dollars. It remained in their family for generations, until it was recently taken to be evaluated by Alex Kader, head of the European Sculpture and Works of Art Department at Sotheby’s.  The family admired the Chessman as a piece of history, although they did not know the true past of this piece. The grandson of the antique dealer was shocked to learn the real value of this item

The Chessman is set to go on auction on July 2nd– it is projected that the piece will make up to $1.3 million dollars.

For more exciting news on upcoming auctions, be sure to check Smith & Co Auction & Realty. Smith & Co Auction & Realty has been serving Northwest Oklahoma and its surrounding areas for over 30 years. Our experienced staff can assist buyers and sellers throughout the auction process. Stay updated on new sales by visiting our auction page