Collector's Antique and Vintage Puzzles
For Sale or Exchange

Beautifully carved mid-Victorian Chinese Puzzles.

Click for more information on Chinese Puzzles

IMPERIAL SCALES

Beautifully carved Nineteenth Century Chinese tanglement puzzle.


Remove the ring without untying the knots. A classical topological disentanglement puzzle.


see Hoffmann 2/10 for solution

CA-010 £150

CHINESE LADDER

Beautifully carved and largely forgotten 19th Century puzzle.


Remove the disks from the ladder without removing them from the string. Then put them all back on the ladder!

for solution see Hoffmann 2/17

CA-011 £90

 

CHINESE RINGS PUZZLE or BAGNEUDIER PUZZLE.

The classic traditional version of the original binary puzzle. For every ring added the number of moves in the solution is doubled. With 9 rings this beautiful 19th century version takes 512 moves.

see Hoffmann 10/5

CA-022 £300

NINE BARS and CORDS.


Originally just an amusement for children; but also a great tool for braiding puzzles. (see below)


CA-031 £75

TANGRAM PUZZLE

Wonderfully carved 19th Century Chinese puzzle.

The classical 7 piece dissection. The inverse of a Jigsaw. A jigsaw uses hundreds of pieces to make one picture, whereas with the you must use just 7 pieces to make hundreds of pictures.

see Hoffmann 3/1

CA-041 £300
resd.
 

SPELLIKINS

The traditional game of Spellikans or Spillikinns, or Pickup Sticks. Different shapes have different values.

 

   
 

BAR & TWO BEADS

One of the earliest topological puzzles, occasionally, for no good reason, called "Solomon's Seal".

Two beads hang from each of two loops. The puzzle is to get both onto one loop and then restore them.

   

 

TWELVE PIECE BURR

Put the 12 rods together to form this three dimensional cross.

 

   
       

BRAIDING PUZZLES

 

BRAIDING PUZZLES

TOPOLOGY/ KNOT THEORY / BRAIDING
A New educational mathematical use for a 19th Century children's Toy.

Using this puzzle, one can separate 9 rods into two groups joined by 3,4,5,6,7,8, or 9 separate cords. Then, by treating each group as one, moving a group between the cords you can produce different braids. These can be very interesting and challenging puzzles of great mathematical interest.

see Wolfram math. and Math awareness

   
 

CONSERVATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES

As stressed elsewhere on this site, we strongly support the conservation of endangered wildlife and are particularly disgusted at the continued destruction of Elephants and other endangered species. Any of the items we are offering for sale here certainly date from before World War Two and most are mid to late 19th Century. Not a single Elephant would be saved by destroying these historic beautifully carved antique items which actually gave their name "Chinese Puzzle" to the whole field of mechanical puzzles.

However we do urge everyone to make absolutely certain that they do not buy any modern item made of ivory unless it is certified Mammoth Ivory. With the one exception of the concentric puzzle balls, we are not aware of any ivory puzzles being manufactured in latter half of the 20th Century. Ivory puzzles generally went out of fashion by the late 19th Century when so many interesting and cheaper puzzles started being produced in all materials.

It is a tragedy that ignorant tourists will still buy modern ivory including the concentric Puzzle Balls. Usually impressed by the mystery of how the concentric balls are made, which is actually quite easy, they fail to recognise the obvious signs of poor workmanship in the carving and other features which gives away the modern object.

We will not part with any ivory puzzles outside the UK or EU unless the purchaser arranges and pays for the appropriate CITES certificates.

 

       

 

CHINESE RINGS
Rare version with round carved handle.

see Hoffmann 10/5

CA-021

sold