The Bulgars (Bulgarorum); 32 vintage chess pieces without board, wooden, unweighted, Bulgarian, lightly restored, c.1940
Height: King 8.3cm or 3 1/4”, weight 20g, base width 2.8cm; Queen 7.7cm wt. 20g, Bishop 6cm 11g, Knight 5.5cm 7g, Rook 4cm 6g, Pawns 4.5 cm 6g.
W: Lush Bulgarian Blue felt pads: B: same
There is scant information regarding the history of early Bulgarian chess pieces, but in this wonderfully aged set, I see influences of Poland, Hungary and neighbouring Romania. This particular pattern is one of the earliest of this size that I’ve seen. Later sets, with the same traditionally shaped knights, are more influenced by the famous Staunton pattern, while The Bulgars retain their unique Eastern European flavour.
The pieces have only been lightly restored. There were some ugly chips around the bases and the rims of the crowns. These have been meticulously repaired and colour-matched to the original patina (photos of the restoration can be viewed at thechessschach.com gallery). The four knights were also loose on their bases and slightly off-centre, due to the fact they were screwed into place. The small screws were removed and traditional wooden pegs now hold them firmly in place.
If you love playing with a set that has seen a million battles, then this is the set for you. If only these gnarly faced knights could tell us their story! But I’m sure there are many more battles and stories to come in their future – are you the one who will tell the knight’s tales?
Both kings carry the hand-painted 2023 IRIDESCENT PEARL ‘Power’ signature of the artist on their bases and are accompanied by our unique ‘Certificate of Artistry’, which are posted out separately once we tally up how many pearl signature sets passed through our galleries in 2023.
Ref Code: B23