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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What you need to know about limited edition chess sets

The world of collecting is very diverse and many collectors have specific types of items to look for. Some collect natural items like insects and flower pressings or everyday items like postage stamps and matchbooks. However, most collectors look for antiques and collectibles. Antiques are generally considered to be at least 100 years old and usually represent another era or society. Virtually any item can be an antique however the most prized antiques are well-preserved and demonstrate excellent craftsmanship.
                Collectibles are items of certain significance that are too current or modern to be considered antiques and are usually created for the purpose of collecting. Oftentimes collectibles will be available for a limited time or quantity also known as a limited or special edition. Limited editions may refer to items that are restricted to a fixed number of copies produced or available for a given period of time and can be numbered or unnumbered. Numbered limited editions provide more authenticity because it makes each item unique to its collector and ensures authenticity and the limited quantity. The scarce nature of limited editions makes those items more valuable and special to the collector because he or she has one of the few that are in existence. With items that require precise human work such as sculpting chess pieces, producing items as limited editions optimizes the quality of the production which in the case of chess sets is the craftsmanship of the pieces and/or board. Furthermore, limited edition products have an inherent scarcity and rareness that give them greater value than mass produced products in the long-term. 
                Chess, one of the most popular games in the world and in human history, is rich with collectibles and has many fans that don’t even play the game. Aside from its rich and complex gameplay, part of chess’ appeal is the ornamental design of the chess pieces which in themselves can be considered works of art. Artists often deviate from the normal board and piece designs to come up with absurd takes on the look of chess. Many chess sets have been built around specific themes or brands ranging from African tribal pieces to characters from The Simpsons. The beauty of chess set design is that nearly any enthusiast can design their own personalized chess pieces easily and cheaply. However, there are also many amazing professionally made chess sets to fit your every taste and preference. Many chess enthusiasts even purchase limited edition chess sets as part of their collection with no intention of using them for chess. However, collectible chess sets aside from being aesthetically pleasing also provides a thoroughly enjoyable chess playing experience.
                 If you are looking begin or expand your chess set collection, the crucial factors are authenticity and quality. As with many dealers, it is important to find a trusted source for collectibles with a devotion to providing high-quality collectibles. One of the most well-known manufacturers of limited edition chess sets is Natraja. Natraja commissions a select number of limited edition chess sets to renowned sculptor, Avtarjeet Dhanjal. While Dhanjal’s background has mostly been in large sculptures and exhibitions he also provides a line of limited edition hand carved chess sets at Dhanjal, himself the son of wood carver, collaborated with master craftsman Bhupinder Singh and his son, Mandeep Saggu to create a series of five designs, with only 100 numbered sets per design available to collectors. Natraja also devotes two sets per design for museum collections and another two for Natraja’s own collection. Each set is made from boxwood and ebony or boxwood and rosewood in themes such as King Arthur, Marc Anthony and even sea horses. The set includes a special leather bounded box for storage and a signed certificate of authenticity. Of course, in the world of collecting authenticity is the name of the game. The outlets that Natraja’s sets are sold in are limited to protect consumer’s interests and ensure quality. The only place to get Natraja chess sets is at and select outlets. This prevents a major issue with collectibles of counterfeits and knockoffs being sold at non-authorized dealers to unassuming customers. There are several chess dealers that fraudulently advertise limited editions for sale and any chess set collector needs to be wary of these scams. Natraja sells its limited editions through very select outlets that are referred on Natraja’s website. Other dealers claiming limited editions that are not part of Natraja’s outlet network will not be able to issue the artist’s signed certificate. In the United Kingdom, Natraja sets can be found in limited supply at Chess & Bridge in London while House of Staunton has its own exclusive special edition of Natraja sets in the United States.
                Limited edition collectibles are the gold standard for any respectable collector. Particularly, for chess set collectors, limited edition chess board and pieces are the prized possessions in any collection. For starters, they are one of a kind pieces of art that are excellent conversation pieces that will pique the interest of any person. Moreover limited edition chess sets tend to display superior craftsmanship and greater attention to detail. Whether you are buying your first chess board or your hundredth, always go for quality and authenticity.

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