The vendor had little idea of its date or rarity but recalled finding it in a scrapheap in London’s East End in the 1970s.
Remarkably, it is a full set complete with its 30 counters or tablemen, each engraved with a portrait roundel of classical and biblical figures (one probably a later replacement).
The board, inlaid for chess, backgammon and Nine Men’s Morris, has similar rosettes (three now absent) that are probably based on the work of the influential Nuremberg printmaker of Virgil Solis (1514-1620). It was probably made in Augsburg c.1590.
A similar games board without tablemen is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The similarity of the corner roundels suggests a close relationship between the two boards and perhaps even the same workshop.
This board was given an estimate of £10,000-20,000 when offered for sale at the Farleigh Court Golf Club in Surrey on February 26.
The hammer price of £30,000 came from an overseas bidder.
The buyer’s premium was 18%.