Unique Battle of Issus Chess Set Could Be Yours for $1.9 Million – Robb Report


There are chess games, and then there is this extraordinary chessboard.

The Battle of Issus, just listed by high-end antique dealer MS Rau, has been meticulously handcrafted over a decade and is a work of art in its own right. Legend has it that Ruven Perelman did the one-off in 1992 for his daughter’s dowry. It took the master gemologist 14,000 hours to complete.

As the nickname suggests, the set is based on the ancient Battle of Issus which took place in Anatolia in 333 BC. Around the board there are mini sculptures of archers, horsemen, chariots and elephants depicting battle scenes. Alexander the Great and King Darius are the opposing kings, while the Greek goddess Athena and the Persian god of war are the respective queens. For bishops, Perelman designed warships. He also transformed the castles into columned temples of ancient Greece and Persepolis. There are even horsemen and infantrymen on the board instead of pawns.

A front view of the striking battle of Issus.

Ms Rau

The set also offers plenty of bling. The 14k gold pieces are adorned with semi-precious stones and brightly hued enamel, while the top is made of squares of pink rhodonite and green malachite. Oh, and the sides are pure silver.

To top it off, each piece is equipped with a mechanical movement. With a simple twist of the trigger, battle heroes come to life. Movements include rowing the oars of a ship, Alexander lowering his sword, archers drawing their bows, and even horses shaking their manes.

Pieces of the Battle of Issus chess game

Four highly detailed chess pieces.

Ms Rau

The chess set was given “reluctantly” to the New Orleans store by Perelman’s daughter, according to MS Rau.

“He’s in phenomenal condition,” founder Bill Rau said. Robb Report by email. “We currently have it on a bespoke glass-covered pedestal.”

You can buy the chess set now online or in stores for $1.9 million.

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