Each of the first series of
sets had a
white label stuck under the box, personally signed by H. Staunton,.
Staunton also personally numbered each set, up to at least No. 684. The first labels were headed
THE STAUNTON CHESS-MEN. The name of Jaques either did not appear on them or is very faint
on the left side of the entered number with LONDON on the right, either in a straight line or curved.
The label described the contents and price. The Carton Pierre boxes, described later, retained their l
abels underneath. By the time the 600s had been reached, the label of the mahogany boxes for
boxwood and ebony sets had migrated to under the hinged lid, which was fortunate because very
few of the ones under mahogany boxes have survived legibly. The labels for these boxwood sets are
green, and JAQUES LONDON is at the bottom.
was a radical change in the colouring and numbering of labels after the
personal signing ended
\in about 1850-51. A facsimile of Staunton‘s signature was then printed on each label, which is still i
n use today. The sets had a printed entry number, which was coded along with the colour of the label.
Green labels were for wooden sets in mahogany hinge-top boxes with weighted bases, and all began
with “1”, and formed a series from 1,000 to 1,999. Yellow labels were for Carton Pierre caskets and
formed a series beginning in “2” from 2,000 to 2,999 for the smaller, and usually unweighted, wooden
sets. Red labels were the hallmark of ivory sets, and all began with the number “3”. The runs of
numbered wooden sets probably finished at 2999 by about 1855-56, but the more expensive ivory
sets may have continued into the 1860s as they sold much more slowly. The very expensive sets were
probably stocked by Jaques and labelled when requested by retailers. The 4.4” ivory set No. 3841 is
identical to the earlier 3259, which, judging by style and the presence of registration stickers probably
dates to no later than 1852.
Early labels. 1849, 1855 and
1856-60 labels are on undersides of Carton Pierre caskets. 1850
label No. 628 is under lid of mahogany box. Nos 10, 628 and 684 from 1850 are hand signed
and entered by Staunton. Printed Entered No. labels are yellow for boxwood and ebony, red
for ivory in Carton Pierre boxes. No. 684 is the highest hand-signed number seen by the author.
Like 2880, “JAQUES LONDON” has been pasted over by a retailer’s label. The green labels
628 and 684 are clearly a different batch from the earlier hand-signed ones, with “SIGNED”
being changed to ”Signed”, to accompany the new position inside the mahogany box as well as
the change in colour. The price of the ivory set in label No. 10 is printed as £5-5-0, £5.25 in
decimal money. No. 2711 has the price written in ink on the right of the Entered No. as 35s,
i.e. £1.75. The 1856-60 label has JAQUES LONDON but is post-Entered number.
Entered Nos. 10 and 684 photos courtesy of Michael Mark.
Jaques and Son labels, post-1862. After 1862, the label
indicates two prize medals and has Jaques’ son
as partner. Labels between 1860 and 1862 have the son in partnership. After 1900, Jaques is a Limited (Ltd)
company. The green label on bottom left is from under a red sarcophagus containing an ivory set.
In the 1930s “GENUINE” and in the 1940s “ORIGINAL” is added above “Staunton Chessmen”.
Photo of the 1930-39 label is courtesy of Joost van Reij.