Philipii Rex Exercitus (King Philip’s Army); 32 heavy chessmen without board, distributed by the German chess company, APF von Rolland during the 1970s; light brown vs. dark brown, circa 1970-1980. Excellent condition given its age.
King height: 12cm, wt 54g, base diameter 3.9cm; Queen 10cm wt 50g, Bishop 9.2cm, Knight 8cm, Rook 6.2cm, Pawn 5.8cm.
W: red felt pads, B: same
The wood does all the talking with this elegant Philippino tournament set. The white side is turned from Narra Wood of the rosewood family, while the black side is made from Kamagong, or Iron wood (closely related to Ebony) and well known for its density and unique colouring. The latter is now a protected tree species in the Philippines (since the early 80s) making this traditional set very collectable in recent years.
As mentioned, the Kamagong is a particularly heavy wood, therefore I’ve added extra weight to the light side, so each piece feels as heavy as it’s counterpart across the board. Also the pads have been replaced in the same traditional red colour seen on most all of these sets.
The grubby, thick lacquer that shrouded the dark pieces has been painstakingly removed, exposing the glorious grain beneath – and to be perfectly honest, I’ve done little to these pieces other than give them a subtle antiqued finish. The wood literally speaks for itself. Wonderful to play with and quite a distinct set visually with their gently curved stems, solid bases and grand, oversized finials of the Kings.
All pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual and blitz play.
The kings carry the hand-painted iridescent silver signature of the artist on their felt bases.
Visit our Gallery for more artistically restored vintage chess sets.