Unique 17th-century amber games board with the Royal provenance of King Charles I will be offered at Sotheby’s sale of European Sculpture & Works of Art: Medieval to Modern on December 5, 2012. This games board that dates from around 1607, the golden age of amber production in Konigsberg, is estimated to sell for £300,000-£500,000 ($480,000-$800,000).
Considered to have been owned by King Charles I of England and Scotland (1600-1649), who may have inherited it from his father King James I (1566-1625) or his elder brother Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (1594-1612); this board was later bequeathed by King Charles I to his confident William Juxon, the bishop of London, on the day of his execution on January 30, 1649, after which came into the ownership of the Hesketh family of Rufford Hall, Lancashire and Easton Neston, Northamptonshire.
This high quality games board has design, typical of the most elegant Konigsberg work from the first half of the 17th century, and is attributed to Konigsberg craftsman and the celebrated ‘master of royal chess-sets’, Georg Schreiber. Beside its virtuoso classicising reliefs of white amber under translucent red amber, the board bears the inscription ‘Zu Gott Allein Die Hoffnung Mein (My only hope is Gold alone), a motto very close to that of Charles and Henry Frederick’s maternal grandfather Frederick II of Denmark.