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ART: Lewis Chessman sells for almost $1 million infographic
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Long lost Lewis Chessman auction

07/02/2019
Graphic News

July 2, 2019 -- A medieval chess piece, bought for $14 in 1964 and kept in a drawer of an Edinburgh home for 55 years, has sold at auction for $928,000.

The owners of an 800-year-old Viking chess piece had no idea of its importance or that it was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen that were found buried in a sand dune on the Isle of Lewis in 1831.

Since the find, five pieces have remained at large – one knight and four warders. The one sold by Sotheby’s on Tuesday is a warder (the medieval equivalent of a rook in modern chess).

The Lewis Chessmen include seated kings, queens, bishops, knights and standing warders and pawns.

They are thought to have been produced in Trondheim, Norway, between 1150 and 1200AD – the end of the viking era.

Some 82 pieces are held in the British Museum, with a further 11 pieces held by the National Museum of Scotland. As well as the chess pieces, the hoard included a buckle, suggesting they had originally been stored in a bag and possibly deliberately buried to keep them safe.


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