A chess piece that was missing for nearly 200 years sold for a jaw-dropping $926,000 after it was bought in 1964 for just $6.
The preceding owners had kept the piece in a drawer with no clue that it was indeed one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen. Various pieces were implemented as exemplars for a chess scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone however the whereabouts of five of the pieces remained a riddle. Now one of the objects has been unearthed by a family whose grandfather procured it for $6 in 1964. Accordant to reports, the Edinburgh antiques dealer had no idea of the importance of the 8.8cm chess piece, crafted from walrus ivory, which ultimately he passed down to his kin. Sotheby’s co-worldwide head of European sculpture and works of art, Alexander Kader, said that his eyes ‘popped out’ when he witnessed what the family had in their control.
Speaking to the press, he stated: “They brought it in for assessment. That happens everyday. Our doors are open for free valuations. We get called down to the counter and have no idea what we are going to see. More often than not, it’s not worth very much. I said, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s one of the Lewis Chessmen’.” A family spokesperson said in a statement: “My grandfather was an antiques dealer based in Edinburgh, and in 1964 he purchased an ivory chessman from another Edinburgh dealer. It was cataloged in his purchase ledger that he had bought an ‘Antique Walrus Tusk Warrior Chessman’. From this description it can be assumed that he was unaware he had purchased an important historic artifact. It was stored away in his home and then when my grandfather died my mother inherited the chess piece. My mother was very fond of the Chessman as she admired its intricacy and quirkiness. She believed that it was special and thought perhaps it could even have had some magical significance. For many years it resided in a drawer in her home where it had been carefully wrapped in a small bag. From time to time, she would remove the chess piece from the drawer in order to appreciate its uniqueness.”
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