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  Monopoly on the table

Monopoly on the table

Published : Feb 7, 2016, 6:16 am IST
Updated : Feb 7, 2016, 6:16 am IST

You might very well may be very attached to that Scrabble set your family pores over every Saturday night, but just how much would you have been willing to pay for it — say if the tiles were made of s

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You might very well may be very attached to that Scrabble set your family pores over every Saturday night, but just how much would you have been willing to pay for it — say if the tiles were made of silver or gold and the letters set into it in precious stones What if the board itself was inlaid with mother-of-pearl If you think this is all too far-fetched, think again! Board games — for chess, Monopoly, mah-jong — have served as a canvas for creatively inclined jewellers for years now, and there are several examples even today of this precious craftsmanship. Here’s a lowdown on the most expensive board games you can get your hands on. Game on!

Silver mah-jong set Dutch designer Janny Schoonhoven is credited with having created the most expensive mah-jong set in the world. While antique mah-jong sets (some are made with French ivory, ebony) can cost collectors a pretty penny, Janny’s set — it weighs a solid 10 kg and is made of pure silver — is estimated to be worth around $65,000. The set has 136 regular tiles, eight flower tiles, 88 chips, four wind markers and two dices. It is all packed into an exquisite handmade wooden case. Apart from the cost of the silver itself, the high price is also a nod to the efforts of the designer — each individual silver tile reportedly took Janny eight hours to craft. Truly special!

Art of War chess set The Art of War Chess board set is “custom-tailored and inlaid with gold, rhodium and precious jewels to make for a truly magnificent piece”, reads its description. Also known as the “Million Dollar chess set” for obvious reasons, this board game is unlike any you’ll come across. Rich gold handles are set against the inlaid chessboard and 21 jewelled pieces are contained within an ebony case. It isn’t the creation of any one person, however. Eight master craftsmen came together to create the varied aspects of the board game. And if the beautiful set isn’t motivation enough for a chess aficionado to shell out the steep price, here’s another reason — part of the proceeds from the sale go to the US Army’s First Cavalry Division.

Gold Monopoly set After he heard about a Monopoly tournament in London in 1988, jeweller Sidney Mobell was struck by an idea — why not create the most expensive Monopoly board game in the world Mobell approached the original makers of the game, the Parker Brothers, for permission, and then used gold and precious stones to create the set he had visualised. The dice alone had 42 diamonds, and costs around $10,000. Mobell’s Monopoly set is now valued at $2 million and was on display at the Museum of American Finance. Was the Monopoly set ever used Apparently yes, when Mobell once played a game with then British PM Edward Heath. The Monopoly set isn’t his only “precious” creation, however. He has also crafted jewel-encrusted backgammon, dominos and chess sets.

Charles Hollander backgammon set Charles Hollander — like Sidney Mobell — was entranced with the idea of creating precious versions of standard board games. His chess set is very well known (it is believed to cost around half a million dollars) but it was the backgammon set, created in conjunction with renowned artist Bernard Maquin that people associate with the Hollander name the most. Drawing inspiration from the origins of backgammon in ancient Mesopotamia, Maquin designed a set that harkens back to the world of the Arabian Nights. No less than 61,082 diamonds of various varieties made their way into the backgammon set (the checkers were set with nearly 3,000 white diamonds), over six-and-a-half kilos of gold and 150 gm of silver. A most expensive masterpiece!