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I need help Identifying this. My grandfather was in ww2 and at one point in the navy he went to Russia and met a Russian Naval Officer to whom he traded for this set, and the officer said he got it from his grandfather, but I'd like some true speculation on it please.

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  • Can you precise the size of these chessmen ?
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 15:55

2 Answers 2

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Here's the same set on ebay. More pictures of yours would be helpful.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-Ceramic-Duncan-Medieval-Style-32Pc-Chess-Set-Hand-Painted-Faces-Detailed-74/263416351119?hash=item3d54d6898f:g:GaoAAOSw4A5Y0WX2

Perhaps the seller can help you learn more.

If you Google for "ceramic duncan medieval chess", you'll get a lot of hits.

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Other than colors, that looks identical to sets my mother made for chess playing family and friends back in the 1970's and early 80's at a local ceramic studio. She made them from molded greenware (unfired clay) and hand painted them. It seems likely that the set in your picture was made in a similar fashion.

Update: A similar set was displayed at the World Chess Hall of Fame. The first molds for sets like this were probably created in 1960's or 1970's by a company then known as Duncan Ceramics Products. As long as the link is good, you can see the set on display and read more at:
https://worldchesshof.org/exhibit/featured-chess-sets-2022

Image of chess set

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