What’s it worth? Appraisal of carved ivory or bone chess set

David says:

I did a lot of searching, and I noticed your blog.  I liked your honest responses to the inquiries, the frequency in which you update and thought your price for a general appraisal was more than fair.

 My grand mother went to Hong Kong in the early 70’s for a few years.  She bought a whole house full of stuff and had it shipped back.  When she died I was given my pick of anything in the house.  I chose (among other things) an ivory chess set. I have tested the ivory with a hot pin and nothing melted. Each piece is intact, it is stored very well. The pawns are about 2.5” tall, and the king and queen are almost 6” tall. The Black side seems to be stained, possibly with tea.  

The King and Queen on both sides have small stones that are turquoise and red. I’m not sure what kind of stone they are. I have attached photos.  I don’t know if you can receive large attachments, but I have photos of the front and back of each piece. You can download a zip file at http://www.pixelkarma.com/chess_lowres.zip. I have full size (15mp) macro images if you need to see them.

I’m not sure if this is your specialty, but I think you may be able to give me enough information to answer my question:  Is this something that is worth looking into in a serious way, or, should I just enjoy it and not waste time trying to (potentially) sell it?

 I appreciate your time and advice,


ivory chess set signed bottom

ivory asian chess

asian chess piece


AW says: Thanks David, I try. 

The White ones represent the Ming Dynasty, the brown represents the Qing Dynasty.

This is a great vintge Asian Chess chess set which is artfully crafted. Although pics on the net can be hard to see, a look at the forms and details of the pieces indicates a skilled craftsman. 

That and the stones, likely Turquoise and (I would not know what the red stone is from here) indicate a sincere appreciation for the job and effort presented.)

That said, I also have to say note the second pic down, the shape and lines of the hand and the lines on the inflex of the base, I’d have to say that at least some of the work on these was done with automatic-machine assisted tools. (Not uncommon for a lot of vintage Asian carvings)

 This is a wonderful set no matter what the process.

Circa 1940s to 1970

  • Retail value: $1,250
  • Wholesale: $450
  • Quick Sale: $300


  • Chess set
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Historical Ivory (You should identify it as such when you sell it. This simply means it was carved before the ivory ban)
  • Bone (not likely bone, but if you were selling this, it would be beneficial to enter bone as a keyword)
  • hand carved
  • machine assisted

What’s it worth? Appraisal for Pine Trestle dinette set

Dan asks: What can you tell me about my Trestle table set? There are 4 chairs  and the table.

pine trestle dinette setpine dinette set
AW says
Your set is a circa 1960-70s dinette set made of pine, fashioned after a colonial era, medieval style set.  It has what would be referred to as Naugahyde upholstery, and likely brass rivets. It appears to have the original upholstery which is in nice condition. 
This has a good amount of charm which is what should sell it.  For someone to buy it at retail, you may have to wait a bit. But it could be worth it because the buyer who gets emotional about this set is gong to really want it. It’s cute.
Retail value: $350-$375
Wholesale: $125
Quick sale: $75
Trestle table set
1960s-70s pine furniture
colonial style 
dinette set


What’s it worth? Appraisal for transitional china cabinet

Hi Wally,
Thanks so much for providing this service!  Here  is the first of the three appraisals I ordered.
 This is a china cabinet owned by my grandmother, to my mother and now to me.
AW says: Hi Lynn, I’m glad you enjoy the site enough to say so.
What you have is a transitional piece, (coming out of the Federal into the Victorian era) , which is of course a china cabinet.
It’s made of Mahogany, the griffins on the side top are hand carved and the facia wood is likely a veneer.  Circa 1850-80. This is an attractive piece and well built. That said, transitional pieces tend not to bring as much as transitional pieces, although tend to sell just as fast if they are priced right.
  • Retail value: $425-$495
  • Wholesale: $150-$175
  • Quick sale: (This item shouldn’t have to suffer a quick sale)
  • Transitional
  • Mahogany
  • China Cabinet
  • 2 door
  • griffins
  • hand carved
  • veneer
  • empire
  • Victorian