Chess gets the Green Light at Bellmans

Interesting buyers this month at Bellmans Auctioneers is lot 1785, an extremely rare Indian ivory ‘Pepys’ pattern chess set dating from the 19th century, which is expected to realise between £2000 and £3000 when it goes under the hammer at 10am on Friday 27th June.

Originating from the Viza gapata region of India and dating from the early or mid half of the century, each piece has been intricately carved with circular lotus leaves, resting on delicate ovoid supports. The Kings and Queens have pierced centres surmounted by crowns and turned finials, while the Bishops are distinguished by pierced mitres, the knights by arched horses heads, the rooks by inverted turrets surmounted by domed towers, and the pawns by their turned finials.

The ‘Pepys’ pattern is a rarity in itself; the name referencing a similar set reportedly owned by English diarist Samuel Pepys in the 17th century. But rarer still is the vibrant viridian green which stains one half of the group: the majority of comparable sets have one half stained in red or black.

This exceptional lot is tiding toy enthusiasts over until the next of Bellmans’s bi-monthly toy auctions, which will take place on Friday 8th August. It is likely that the ‘Pepys’ pattern will be added to a long list of outstanding prices realised for toys at Bellmans; a list which also includes a £5000 Steiff bear, and a £1,200 ‘Magic Midget’ racing car. 

The ‘Pepys’ pattern chess set is on view from midday on Friday 20th June until the morning of the sale, with the entire sale fully illustrated online from Thursday 19th June. Online bidding is available via For more information and to register your interest, please visit, or alternatively contact Bellmans Auctioneers direct on 01403 700858.

Bellmans are currently accepting consignments for their next specialist toy auction. Please contact toy specialist Mr Simon Garner with any enquiries, on the number listed above.

Chess gets the Green Light at Bellmans