Bought by a British family for a mere $6, this chess piece is now expected to sell for a whopping $1.2 million

Antiques are often never valued for their worth, especially those that lay unknown in family homes for generations. Speaking of one such case, an Edinburg family recently uncovered a Lewis Chessman piece that could fetch them approximately $1.26 (1 million GBP) on sale! Lying in a chest drawer at their residence, the item from the Vikings era was passed down to the current owners by their late grandfather who apparently purchased it for a mere 5GBP ($6.3) in 1964.

The 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, is said to be a missing warder from a hoard of 93 pieces that was discovered in a sand dune at Scotland’s Isle of Lewis in 1831. A revered Lewis Chessmen, the piece is among the biggest draws at the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and is touted to be an “important symbol of European civilization”. After keeping it in safe custody for close to 55 years, the anonymous family now wishes for its sale at Sotheby’s.

As per Sotheby’s expert Alexander Kader, who examined the piece for the family, his ‘jaw dropped’ at when he realized what they had in their possession. The newly-discovered piece is a warder, a man with helmet, shield and sword, similar to a rook on a modern chess board that is symbolic of ” immense character and power”. Sotheby’s estimates that it could fetch between $670,000 and $1.26 million in a sale scheduled next month.


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