Seven telephone lines and several bidders in the room competed for this venerable folding gaming board on May 21.
The bone and rosewood board for chess, backgammon and nine men’s morris had been consigned by a private vendor in the Norfolk area who had inherited it from family. Its decorative scheme is typical of Northern European (probably German) work of the late 17th century: veneered in rosewood and inset with engraved bone panels and vignettes depicting various bird, bear and hare hunting scenes, armoured soldiers and arabesques. One of the inlays bore the signature K. Artus, shown right.
The auctioneers, who described the condition as remarkably good (there was only very minor losses to the bone inlay) had estimated the board, which measured 141/4in (36.5cm) square when closed, at just £2000-3000, prompting a deluge of interest from UK and Continental buyers. To a round of applause, the hammer finally fell at £29,000 (plus buyer’s premium) to a London dealer present at the sale.