30 December 2010

Janos Kadar Chess Set

For the last edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price in 2010, I didn't choose the most expensive item of the previous fortnight, although it's one of the most interesting. The title of the chess set shown in the composite photo was 'Chess Set of Hungarian Communist Leader János Kadar'. It attracted 61 bids, finally selling for US $731.

The description said,

This chess set of historical value was given to Hungary's communist leader János Kádár in 1983 by Husak Gustav, the communist dictator of Czechoslovakia. The set was carved in wood by the Czech artist J.Vanek in 1980, in a modernist neo-cubist style, signed by the artist on the side of the box.

Communist leader J.Kádár was known as being a quite skillful chess player and supporter of the chess movement, this is the very reason of this kind of present. An evidence of this is that he was even immortalized on a huge fresco in the Hungarian House of Parliament, playing chess in his early years, theme of a widely disputed controversy nowadays, whether it should be removed or not.

Provenance: shortly after his death in 1989, his widow put up on charity auctions most of the large number of the official presents he got through his long dictatorship, from 1956 till the collapse of communism in Hungary, in 1989. The set comprises from the 32 pieces and an inlayed box with red lining. King 11 cm, Queen 10 cm, Pawn 5,5 cm.

For more about Kádár, see Wikipedia's János Kádár.

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