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He has been a member of the main chess set collecting society, the Chess Collector's Club, since the 1960s. Christie's South Kensington's (19.5/12% buyer's premium) Nic McElhatton had timed their May 27 sale to take place a week before the Collectors' Club convention in Madrid, something which he reckoned materially benefited the auction, although he felt the main factor influencing the very strong individual prices was the appearance of an American collector who carried off the top priced purchases.

The most expensive of his 49 purchases was an early 20th century animalier set made of Baltic amber with lion kings and lioness queens. This cost him £30,000, double Christie's estimate. A less predictable outcome was the £22,000 paid for a 19th century Russian set in walrus ivory fashioned as opposing sides of Turks and Russians that fetched £22,000 against much more modest predictions of £3500-5000, or the £10,500 paid for a 19th century set in white and green stained ivory with the main pieces fashioned as neoclassical carved busts.

However, many more of the entries sold within estimate and alongside these five-figure, top sellers were plenty more sets at affordable prices.