Antiques: Communication solves the mystery of the chessboard | So Good News


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S Here are the results of our ongoing investigation into our mysterious chessboard. A friend from Iran confirmed that the inscription is not Persian, but Arabic. My cousin, the owner of the table, attends senior chess tournaments all over Switzerland and noticed a chessboard from Andalucia, Spain, that closely resembled the table’s inlay. Historically, the southern part of Spain was heavily influenced by the Arabs. Two other Arab acquaintances independently confirmed the scenario. My source commented: “It’s an unusual decorative phrase in Arabic, wa la gali illa Allah, which translates to ‘Not dearer than Allah.’ I’m so glad we solved this mystery. With my best regards,

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Monica, Ottawa

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A Congratulations on your admirable effort in using your global connections. I have always believed that there is more information on the “tips of human tongues” than all the libraries in the world put together. Your table is made in Syria. From the mid-1800s onwards, the center of Damascus produced large quantities of inlays featuring traditional Middle Eastern geometric designs – easily traded to neighboring countries and the general Mediterranean – so the connections with Spain and Saudi Arabia are significant. . Any decorative script is unusual, which offers a custom arrangement. The table is not more than 50 years old. Regardless, similar tables retail for over $1,000.

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Jewelry box.
Jewelry box. Supped the photo

S I bought a jewelry box for $20, and the look and size of it was pretty overpriced as it was on the web. It made me wonder about the true value of my purchases. It measures approximately 5 x 14 x 10 cm (2 x 5.5 x 4 inches). Let me know what you think. Thank you.

Francine, Casselman, Ont.

A Your interesting hinged box is made of lapis lazuli stone – probably from Afghanistan. The box is modern – dating, the oldest is from the 1970s. The cover is made of several pieces and the sellers describe it as a “mosaic” work. Your box, with its hinged interior and what is described as a “piano” style, belongs to a more expensive group of related boxes with “asking” retail values ​​of $1,000 to $2,500. Those without hinged lids usually have values ​​between $150 and $250. Only high-end “big city” stores like New York or London, England can sell at this high price. Lapis is more expensive in boxes with a popular and interesting pyrite composition (white or gold colored pieces) and large single pieces. Your front end is very attractive and looks like a single piece that makes better sense. These boxes seem to attract attention, but they are easily accessible. Be careful, the actual selling price of your box today is $650.

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Crystal regulator watch.
Crystal regulator watch. Supped the photo

S I suspect my father bought this round crystal regulator clock many years ago in a clock shop in Winchester, UK. It has mercury in both pendulum tubes, which I think is unusual. A bucket of green marble with brass surrounds on the top and bottom and lovely legs! It is about 28 cm (11 inches) tall. Any information is welcome. Thanks again.

Margaret, St. Thomas, Ont.

A You have an unusual round version of a French crystal regulator. Most are rectangular. The marble top and bottom are also unusual for these watches – and very attractive. The pendulum style is unusual, and the addition of mercury makes it difficult to sell and transport. It was made around 1900 and lasts for eight days after it is fully formed. An enameled surface, often referred to as “porcelain,” is in the best condition. An advanced collector will pay $1,200 for your treasure in due course.

John Sewell is an antiques and art appraiser. To submit an item on his column, go to the Contact John page at Please measure your piece, tell us when and how you got it, what you paid, and list any identifying marks. A high resolution jpeg image must also be included. (Only email submissions are accepted.)

* Rating values ​​are approximate only.*

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