A little background: On Friday 9/4, as everyone who had to work at the office was grinding their teeth and counting the agonizing, never-ending minutes toward 5 p.m. and freedom for the 3-day Labor Day weekend, a particular lady stopped by my office during the lunch hour to linger over the candy dish I try to keep stocked with chocolates for stressed-out workers. That candy dish gets heavy traffic (from attorneys and staff). The lady and I have shared many agreeable conversations over the past seven years. This time, she caught me playing chess online, LOL - I was still working on my training games at redhotpawn.com prior to my upcoming weekend match with Shira. "Oh," she said. "Chess!" We got into a discussion, and soon I was going on and on about the Shira Chess Challenge and some of the sponsorships for chess femmes Goddesschess has been putting out there - small but we hope to grow them over time. She listened politely, and I shut up finally, when it dawned on me - DUH! - that I was boring her to tears with my "other full-time career."
I walked into my office, turned on the light, turned around to reach down underneath the desk to turn on the hard drive and an array of chess pieces were sitting there next to my computer screen, before my amazed eyes! What the -
I honestly do not think I can describe what I felt at that moment! Almost instantly my eyes registered that there were 16 pieces - the "royalty" - no pawns. Six of the pieces were still in boxes that read "British Caledonian," showing a picture of the piece within on one side and other information provided on each of the remaining sides of the box.
I knew who had left those chess pieces, a complete set of major pieces for black and white with some duplicates of both the black and white pieces. I emailed her my thanks, and suggested I could not accept such a valuable gift, because surely these were collectibles! Then - in between bursts of work - I did a no-no and researched those chess pieces and confirmed that they are certainly not dimestore ware!
A little later she came to my office and said no no, I want you to have them, and she explained why she wanted me to have them. I asked only that she send me an email describing the particulars of how she had collected these pieces, and she obliged.
I cannot begin to tell you how much this gift means to me. I don't care about any potential monetary value for my own part, I didn't want her to give away something that could be valuable financially, not to mention embued with so many priceless memories... But that is exactly why she wanted to give them to me, because, I think, she knows that I will appreciate those confidences and wonderful memories connected with each piece, and chess in general, and the role it played in her life.
This is NOT my set! I need to take photographs of my pieces.
A history of George Wade and Son, the pottery that made the Thistle and the Rose chess pieces.
These pieces (photo above - the white major pieces) look identical to my pieces (minus pawns), except my pieces, even those in the boxes, don't have those "stamp tax" seals on them, and the rooks (towers) do not have the gold wrap (or whatever it is) near their tops. From Carlopeto's Figural Mini-bottles.
Information about British Calendonian and The Thistle and The Rose Beneagles Whisky Chess Set.