Auria Brunium (Golden Brown); 32 lightly-weighted chessmen without board, Austrian coffeehouse, wooden, amber vs. brown, artistically restored, c.1900
Height: King 7.3cm, weight 13 g, base diameter 2.9cm; Queen 6.6cm, Bishop 6cm, Knight 5.2cm, Rook 4.4cm, Pawn 4.5cm.
W: antiqued beige felt pads, B: same
A quaint and very typical pattern of the old Coffee House sets that dominated the smoke-laden gaming rooms of Austria, Germany and Hungary from the late 1800s on. Originally, and unusually, the dark pieces weren’t painted black but just stained with a thin, light brown varnish. This varnish along with the light side had almost completely worn off, to the point where it was difficult to tell each side apart on the board. Therefore, I’ve restored them to how I feel they would have looked a few decades or so after they were made, probably just after the turn of the century, but possibly earlier.
The set is in very good condition considering its age. Four unsightly pawn collars have been restored (3 white, 1 black), which were not pleasing to the eye (I’ve lost track of which pawns now). A little weight has also been added, nothing drastic, just enough to make them feel comfortable to play with – the lightness of these ‘kaffeehaus’ patterns was one of their greatest flaws I feel.
The set carries the ‘silver signature’ of our 2020 sets. I was a little unhappy with the finish of the darker pieces so had taken them down from our galleries to re-do at a later date and got caught up with other projects. The latest Chessay (Feb. 2022) which lists all the 2020 sets jogged my memory, and after finally locating them, I refinished the whole set into something that I now consider a joy to the eye.
The pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual play. Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent silver ‘power’ signature of the artist on their bases and are accompanied with a Certificate of Authenticity. See the Jan. 2022 chessay on our All About Chess page for more info.
Etsy Set Price: $850.00
thechessschach.com Set Price: $750.00