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Weird World: Medieval chess piece could hit Ksh130M at auction

A medieval chess piece could earn £1 million at auction.

A family has discovered the object – which was bought by their grandfather for just £5 in 1964 and has been kept in a drawer – has been missing for almost 200 years and is one of the Lewis Chessman.

Apparently, the chess piece was part of a valuable collection. According to a report by The Independent, “the 8.8cm-tall piece was snapped up by an antique dealer in Edinburgh in 1964, but neither seller nor buyer realized its vast historical significance.

“But after the grandchildren of the buyer took the walrus ivory “warder” – equivalent to a modern-day rook – to Sotheby’s auction house in London, it was revealed the family heirloom was one of the famous Lewis chessmen.”

Speaking about the valued family treasure, a family spokesperson explained, “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.”

The famous collection of 93 objects were discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, but five of the pieces have been lost.

One knight and four warders have been missing from the four combined sets, and the newly discovered piece is the latter – a man with a helmet, shield, and sword – which is the equivalent of a rook.

A report the rest of the Lewis chessmen are held by the British Museum or the National Museum of Scotland, where they are among the biggest draws for tourists and history lovers.


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