Man Ray chess set to auction for $22,500 at Christie's

Christie's has announced that it will offer a selection of chess sets, including an example designed by Man Ray, as part of its Style & Spirit auction in London on March 26.

Man Ray chess set
The set was conceived in 1920, though was only realised in 2008



The chess sets are being sold from a European collection to coincide with the World Chess Candidates Tournament in London (March 14-April 2). The Man Ray set is expected to sell for ?�10,000-15,000 ($14,974-22,461).

As one of the leading artists of the dada and surrealist movements, Man Ray took it upon himself to design a chess set based on the dada tradition of taking an object and presenting it in a different form.

Conceived in 1920, his drawings use the broken neck of a violin for the knight, a pyramid for the king and a conical shape for the queen. The set at auction is one of 10 made in 2008, produced in silver to Man Ray's original designs.

However, the auction's most valuable set is an intricate Anglo-Indian ivory piece, which was carved in Berhampur near Calcutta in the early 19th century. Estimated at ?�15,000-20,000 ($22,461-29,948), it is a superb example of the craftsmanship for which the area became known, after it was established as a British barrack town in 1765 following the Battle of Plassey.

Chess collectibles have a history of success at auction, with the majestic chessboard that King Charles I took to his execution selling with a 20% increase at Sotheby's in December 2012. Our sister company, PFC Auctions, sold a set of Bobby Fischer's chess notes for $25,800 in September 2012.

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