The King’s Court: Most Expensive Chess Sets

Looking for the perfect chess set to invest in? From classic wooden sets to the luxurious Battle of Issus Chess Set, find out the world's most expensive and exquisite sets money can buy.

Updated Mar 7, 2023

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If you’re one who can appreciate the centuries-old game of chess and are looking for the most luxurious and expensive chess sets on the market, you’re in for a treat. We have rounded up the world's most coveted, expensive, and exquisite chess sets that you can own and cash in on for years to come.

From a $500,000 luxe Royal Diamond set to a $9.8 million Jewel Royale set crafted with solid gold and dazzling diamonds, these showpieces are sure to exude sophistication.

Ready, set, checkmate.

Why are chess sets so valuable?

Millions of people celebrate the beloved game with sets crafted from precious metals and stones as far-flung as the stars. You could call them priceless—because some are.

South Sea pearls and rich blue sapphires adorn the Pearl Royal Chess Set, while the Grahl Chess Set—made by an anonymous creator—is stunning and mysterious.

The uber-expensive Game of Kings chess set is worth $3 million and the Jewel Royale chess set takes the cake with an estimated price of $9.8 million—and the bragging rights that come with it.

So if you can't afford a castle, stay one step ahead and buy the next best thing.

What are the most expensive chess sets?

Chess sets made of luxurious woods such as ebony, sandalwood, and rosewood are becoming increasingly rare due to several reasons, making them a valuable investment.

On top of the craftsmanship, the increasing rarity of these materials makes chess sets a worthwhile investment for collectors.

1. Jewel Royale chess set

  • Price: $9.8 million 
  • Type: Diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires

The Jewel Royale chess set is the most expensive chess set in the world, standing at $9.8 million.

The Jewel Royale chess set is the most expensive and exquisite game set in the world, valued at over $9.8 million. It’s constructed of gold and platinum and is adorned with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls, and sapphires.

The playing surface is made of yellow and white gold and is set with diamonds, with the corners supported by a crystal ball with a gold center post.

The king piece is made of 165.2 grams of 18-carat yellow gold and is embellished with 73 rubies and 146 diamonds. It’s worth more than $140,000 alone.

For those looking to invest in the Jewel Royale chess set, there are a limited number of replica sets available for about $40,000.

2. Pearl Royale Chess Set

  • Price: $4 million
  • Supply: 3
  • Type: Diamonds

The Pearl Royale chess set is crafted with 18k gold, 513 carats of GIA-certified diamonds.

The Pearl Royale chess set is one of the most expensive and luxurious chess sets in the world, costing $4 million. It came in only three editions, making it scarce and sought after among opulent chess fans. 

This set is crafted with 18-karat gold, 513 carats of GIA-certified diamonds, AAA Ceylon blue sapphires, and South Sea pearls, which give the set an elegance rarely found in other chess collections.

The pieces have intricately designed undersides fitted with diamonds and gold edges that help them move smoothly on the crystal board. The Pearl Royale chess set is a great investment due to its rarity and the high quality of the materials used. It boasts a timeless design, has a high-end appeal, and remains in high demand.

3. The Battle of Issus chess set

  • Price: $1.9 million
  • Type: Gold, pearls

The Battle of Issus chess set is worth an estimated $1.9 million.
Source: M.S. Rau Antiques

Depicting the battle of Alexander the Great and the Persians, this war chess set was created in an immense 14,000 hours and features mini sculptures of archers, horse riders, chariots, elephants, and the Greek goddess Athena and the Persian god of war depicted as the queens. Each piece is mechanized, bringing the battle to life before your very eyes.

The Battle of Issus chess set is one of the most expensive chess sets in the world, valued at an incredible $1.9 million.

This 14-karat gold set, lavishly adorned with semi-precious stones and exquisite enamel, is sure to bring joy to the eyes of all beholders. Even more eye-catching are the 320 grams of garnets accentuated with pearls, turquoise, rose quartz, and enamel so flawless it will leave you speechless.

4. The Pagoda Figurines chess set

  • Price: $696,260
  • Type: Gilt, silver, copper

Pagoda Figurines Chess Set’s board contains silver and silver-gilt mounted pewter, brass, copper, mother of pearl, and stained ivory inlaid boulle marquetry.

The Pagoda Figurines chess set is an incredibly valuable and luxurious set that contains several precious materials. Dating back to between 1720 and 1730, this set is a reminder of the game's oriental origins and the enthusiasm for it during that period. The board and figurines contain high-end materials such as horn, ivory, tortoiseshell, gilt, silver gilt, porcelain, pearl, padouk, and ebony.

This fantastic work of art is attributed to Johannes Mann (1679-1754) and Emanuel Eichel (1690-1752). With Pagoda figurines as kings and queens and chess pieces crafted from mother-of-pearl and aventurine glass, you'll have the best-looking board in the land.

The board contains silver and silver-gilt mounted pewter, brass, copper, mother of pearl, and stained ivory inlaid boulle marquetry, with panels of chinoiseries, exotic animals, and classic mythological creatures. The figurines contain aventurine glass with silver-gilt mounts and tortoiseshell bases, while the white pair of figurines have silver crowns containing simulated and seed pearls.

This set is highly sought after and is currently worth a staggering $696,260.

5. The Christian I von Münch Chess set

  • Price: $552,570
  • Type: Silver

Christian I von Münch chess set.

The Christian I von Münch chess set is a truly unique and valuable item, with an estimated worth of $552,570. This set includes a board with alternating squares of ivory and tortoiseshell inlaid with silver stars and scrolls, and two drawers to protect the chess pieces.

These pieces are crafted with ivory on ebony and silver-gilt bases from ebonized walnut, and one of the bishops even holds a piece of paper with the sculptor’s initials engraved, though the sculptor remains unidentified.

6. The Mother-of-Pearl and Tortoiseshell chess set

  • Price: $214,500
  • Type: Mother-of-Pearl, Silver

Mother-of-Pearl, and Tortoiseshell chess set is estimated to be worth around $214,500.

The Mother-of-Pearl and Tortoiseshell chess set is an exquisite piece of history, with its unique design and craftsmanship from the 1735 Ausburg silversmith Christian Baur.

The set includes silver and silver-gilt mounted polychrome boxwood pieces, a tortoiseshell ebonized and veneered case, and an engraved mother-of-pearl lid with intricately inlaid squares. Each piece is steeped with either silver bases and green stained ivory platforms or steeped silver-gilt bases and mother-of-pearl platforms.

With its connection to Christian Baur and its expensive materials, the Mother-of-Pearl and Tortoiseshell chess set is a remarkable investment opportunity. This luxurious chess set is estimated to be worth around $214,500. Those looking to invest in antiques should consider this set as a rare piece of history and craftsmanship.

7. Man Ray's chess set

  • Price: $201,600
  • Type: Bronze, wood

Man Ray's chess set is valued at $201,600 and comes with a unique feature of storage drawers to protect the pieces when not in use.

Man Ray's chess set is a stunning piece of artwork and history combined. Valued at $201,600, it is a rare find, with thirty-two sleek, polished bronze chess pieces, an enamel, and a brass inlay board mounted in gorgeous wood. This set also comes with a unique feature of storage drawers to protect the pieces when not in use.

The remarkable valuation of Man Ray’s chess set is derived from its history and authenticity. Its true worth is only seen in its stunning condition and intricate details. Chess lovers and art collectors can enjoy this rare and beautiful set while admiring its beauty and history.

Should you invest in an expensive chess set?

The chess market is blooming—the worldwide market for chess sets is predicted to reach $2.61 billion by 2027, with an impressive 3.58% compound annual growth rate.

A magical 8.8 centimeter (3.5 inch) walrus ivory warrior chessman, which dates back to the thirteenth century, recently sold at auction for $927,062—1,823x more than the measly five bucks that it originally cost back in 1964.

This is the very first piece to be discovered out of the legendary Lewis Chessmen hoard since the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland took possession of it, but who would have guessed it would be worth this much?

If you invest the right amount of time to find the optimal set, it could become more valuable than your stock portfolio and double as a precious heirloom.

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