Introduction: The World's Most Expensive Chess Set

Picture of The World's Most Expensive Chess Set

I made a chess set using only money. Notes for the board, coins for the pieces. Total cost: £2,402.68.

Step 1: About...

Picture of About...

I can't remember when or from where this idea originates. All I do know is that it was finally realized on Saturday 23rd August, after saving up a lot of money. The principle is simple, collect all your loose change to use for the pieces, and visit the bank to withdraw notes, and fold up them to build the individual squares. This alone, is a cool idea, but I wanted it to be more special, so I designed each piece using coins that I considered would specifically, and artistically, represent the piece and its historical and gameplay purpose. And instead of white and black, the opposing sides would be called 'heads' and 'tails'.

Step 2: Getting the Money

Picture of Getting the Money

Go to and/or rob a bank and withdraw £2,402.68

Step 3: Prepare the Notes

Picture of Prepare the Notes

Fold each note into a rough square so that a suitable colour contrast can be achieved. I used the '50' and '20' flashes to be prominant. Even notes of different sizes will, because of the chequerboard pattern, ultimate match on all four sides. Make sure every note is folder in exactly the same way.

Step 4: Lay Them Out

Picture of Lay Them Out

Carefully arrange the notes on the board, and add a surround. Do this so that the uniformity can be seen visually.

Step 5: Perspex Cover

Picture of Perspex Cover

Lower a sheet perspex onto the notes. This keeps the board flat, and together. Because the notes all stand up in the same orientation you should be able to lower from the 'hinged' side of all the notes, and they will collapse naturally into shape.

Step 6: Place Coins on Top

Picture of Place Coins on Top

I designed each piece using coins that I considered would specifically, and artistically, represent the piece and its historical and gameplay purpose.

Pawn - The foot soldiers. Naturally, these had to utilise the lowest denomination, currently the penny. Since soldiers are individuals I decide on a single coin, but because as they are proud to be representing and defending their country, I picked only the shiniest coins I had. Total cost per side: 8p.

Rook - Sometimes called .castles., these are the solid bastions placed at the edge of the board, so they had to look strong and purposeful, so I stacked 9 in a tower. But which coin? The two fattest coins are the 2p and £2, so I choice the 2p. This means the total cost of the piece is 18p, thereby gaining value by brute force, in much the same way the rook controls the board. It.s war connotations are amplified by using dull coins, and is the only major piece to use copper. Total cost per side: 36p.

Knight - A complex piece, with deadly beauty . especially in the hands of a chess master. I therefore choice the most complex coins, the 7-sided 20p, and 50p, and stacked them for height and value, intentionally making it the most expensive piece of non-royalty on the board. It consists of 8x20p and 1x50p. Total cost per side: £4.20.

Bishop - This has a broad base of 3x10p to represent the congregation, and a tall stack of 11x5p in an attempt to reach heaven (why else are church spires so high?) The (physically) smallest UK coin, the 5p, represents the bishops narrow purpose in battle. Total cost per side: £1.70.

Step 7: King and Queen

Picture of King and Queen

Queen - Tall and stately. The 6x£1 stack is simple and direct. The pound symbolizes unity and home, with so much in our culture based around it, such as the .everything for £1. shops, the cost of a lottery ticket, and so on. Total cost per side: £6.00.

King - The focus of the game is to capture of the king, so this must include the largest value coin (£2), and be worth the most. (There is a £5 coin, but that.s rare.) There is also a stack of pound coins to mirror that of the Queen, and their marriage. However, the king is more important (sorry, girls!) so his stack is 7x£1, and 1x£2. Total cost per side: £9.00.

Step 8: Et Voila!

Picture of Et Voila!

You didn't need all that, I know, but I think it's cool...

...and it's my Instructable, so I'm right ;)


Ryanws (author)2016-09-24


videogamemaster (author)2011-04-10

O.O How much is that roughly in American?

pwnag3 (author)videogamemaster2012-05-25

As of *looks at watch* NOW according to google that would be about $3016.5647

denswei (author)videogamemaster2011-06-04

I guess it depends if you are going to make it from American money....
Could take it to another level by making the pieces using different currencies. (Although some currencies are eliminating much of their coinage, hence more boring).

hockys1 (author)2011-03-15

Its cool but it seems unnecessary

jackerboy (author)2011-03-13

nice waste of money though

owen102 (author)2010-09-18 - five mill pounds o.o

jedi pen-gui-n (author)2008-12-02

rob a bank. not a good idea. okay,okay, you were being funny.

Not a good idea... a brilliant one, I do it all the time! Wait, you weren't meant to hear that. (Shifty eyes)

SilverVixen (author)2010-08-16

I'm thoroughly impressed! You did a wonderful job with this instructable. I really enjoyed the explanation; thanks for including it!

spiderspud (author)2009-11-25

go to AND/OR rob a bank i enjoy the and or u can withdraw some money then steal the rest :D

Kryptonite (author)spiderspud2010-08-13

And after that, you can learn English! :D

tfrost1980 (author)2010-08-06

Not nearly the worlds most expensive chess set, but still cool.

wazza123 (author)2010-03-25

And the winner keeps the set sounds great,  just don't sneeze or you might loose the board

Foehammer358 (author)2009-09-24

or u can just buy plastic coins and fake notes from Walmart and freak out your friends or get stolen for 15$

oscarthompson (author)2009-09-19

how did you afford that?

RedFlash (author)2009-07-11

That is English Currency!

destructopop (author)2008-10-02

But they're ALL the Queen!

scott! (author)destructopop2009-07-08

ha, i get it!

scott! (author)2009-07-08

Wow! $3858.70, what do you do for a living that you can make chess sets out of money?

ibayibay1 (author)2009-07-03

i think u shud have done an instructable on what u did instead of how u did it

steblublu (author)2009-06-29

re: step 2 - "...rob a bank and withdraw £2,402.68 ". I'd like to see the instructable for that....

szechuan53 (author)2009-04-17

wait now i'm older and more inquisitive... why did you bother getting this much money? wouldn't it have been easier to use fake money? most of us wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

jedi pen-gui-n (author)2008-12-02

now it's snowing

(removed by community request) ....... nah not really

it almost makes you think his defaults to that after he clicks post comment.

nickademuss (author)2009-02-04

God save the Queen!

Bartboy (author)2008-09-12

heads or tails.

benthekahn (author)Bartboy2008-11-15

Ok, thanks.

sciamannikoo (author)benthekahn2008-11-15

Still wondering why my comment has been removed and why I keep receiving replies. I don't even remember what I've wrote (the post is quite old), but I'm usually polite on my comments.

sciamannikoo (author)Bartboy2008-09-13

Would be nice to know why my comment has been removed.

aglet (author)2008-11-15

"... opposing sides would be called 'heads' and 'tails'"? Don't you find it a bit tricky to identify which piece is on which side?

loosetragedy (author)2008-09-30

after the failed bailout the market might start trading in chess pieces. lol.

randomray (author)loosetragedy2008-11-13

Sad , but true .I might need it for a retirement plan .

Jehar21 (author)2008-09-23

not the most expensive

check it out
rich people are ridiculous,lol

looking4ideas (author)Jehar212008-10-06

I have two of those who wants one ?

dude ill have it

sorry man I decided to use it as my dogs chew toy

but i can give u my ferrari for a spin ?

deal where can i pick it up lol

Badgergirl (author)Jehar212008-10-12

Most expensive DIY chess set, not any chess set

corey_caffeine (author)Jehar212008-10-01

expensive chess set is expensive

T-K (author)2008-10-16

'dudes, take this outside

lucidn (author)2008-10-11

Most expensive DIY chess set.

FooL111394 (author)2008-10-06

Oh yeah!!!!!

davethescubarock (author)2008-10-06

This is really cool - but if both sides use the same pieces how do you know who's who when the game unfolds?!

One side is heads, one's tails! Silly!

jeff-o (author)2008-09-14

US money is no good, it's all the same colour!

copycat42 (author)jeff-o2008-09-14

I'm from the US, and that's not the only reason it's no good. :) However, if we went back to the GOLD standard....

MatrixEagle15 (author)copycat422008-09-18

there isn't enough gold that's why we quit that idea in the first place

About This Instructable




More by SteevAtBlueDust:The Tilt LampMigraine AlertLEGO Love
Add instructable to: