Seven telephone lines and several bidders in the room competed for this venerable folding gaming board at the Diss Auction Rooms of Thos. Wm. Gaze & Son on May 21.
The bone and rosewood board for chess, backgammon and nine
men's morris had been consigned by a private vendor in the Norfolk
area who had inherited it from family. Its decorative scheme is
typical of Northern European (probably German) work of the late
17th century: veneered in rosewood and inset with engraved bone
panels and vignettes depicting various bird, bear and hare hunting
scenes, armoured soldiers and arabesques. One of the inlays bore
the signature K. Artus, shown right.
The auctioneers, who described the condition as remarkably good
(there was only very minor losses to the bone inlay) had estimated
the board, which measured 141/4in (36.5cm) square when closed, at
just £2000-3000, prompting a deluge of interest from UK and
Continental buyers. To a round of applause, the hammer finally fell
at £29,000 (plus 10 per cent buyer's premium) to a London dealer
present at the sale.
It was the highest price achieved by the Diss rooms since they
established a house record in 2002 with a Munnings portrait that
sold at £50,000.
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