Medieval Chess Piece Bought for $6 Sells for $929,000

On This Site

Current Events

Share This Page






Follow This Site

Follow SocStudies4Kids on Twitter

July 2, 2019

A medieval chess piece has sold at nearly $1 million at auction; the seller paid $6 for it when he bought it 55 years.

Lewis Chessmen

The object was the Lewis Warder, part of the Lewis Chessmen set, most of which is in the British Museum. The 3.5-inch-high piece depicts a bearded person wielding a sword and holding a shield. It was the medieval equivalent of a rook, or castle.

The seller was a descendant of the person who bought the chess piece for $6 in 1964 and, unaware of its worth, kept it in a drawer. When the owner died, his family asked the auction house Sotheby's to assess the piece and then put the item up for sale. It was the first time that a Lewis piece has gone up for auction. The buyer, who remained anonymous, paid $929,000.

Lewis Chessmen

A chance discovery on the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, in 1831 resulted in the gathering of 93 pieces found altogether. Now, 82 of those pieces are displayed in the British Museum and 11 are housed in the National Museum of Scotland.

Historians think that the pieces were carved in Trondheim, Norway, in the 12th Century; at that time, the Outer Hebrides and the rest of the Western isles were part of the Kingdom of Norway. Walrus ivory and whale teeth make up the majority of the material used to carve the pieces.

Search This Site

Get weekly newsletter

Custom Search

Get weekly newsletter


Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2018
David White

Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2019
David White