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BACKGAMMON SET No. 242

Product Code: ZZGGA242

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Product Features

  • Calfskin Leather Exterior
    • Individual Compartments for Playing Pieces
      • Single Exterior Handle
        • Lockable Case
          • Full-Size Playing Surface
            • Leather wrapped pieces
              • 20.5 x 13.5 x 3.5"

Product Tags

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Product Description

A Backgammon set for the aficionado. Our leather-wrapped case and interior features leather dice cups, leather playing pieces, and is lockable. *Please note that due to the bespoke nature and fine hand craftsmanship of this item, returns are not accepted.

Product Specifications

  • Calfskin Leather Exterior
    • Individual Compartments for Playing Pieces
      • Single Exterior Handle
        • Lockable Case
          • Full-Size Playing Surface
            • Leather wrapped pieces
              • 20.5 x 13.5 x 3.5"

Stories

Originals: John Aspinall

“Let us endeavor so to live” wrote Mark Twain in Puddinhead Wilson, “so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” It’s an ethos we’ve always embraced, and there’s a simplified version that we continually carry in the back of our minds: Strive to leave an interesting obituary.,  John V. Aspinall accomplished just that, and upon his death in 2000 the New York Times described him as a “rakish millionaire” and his native British press as “mischief maker-in-chief.” Aspinall’s journey to high-society notoriety was fully self-made, the result of a life spent playing solely by his own rules. Aspers, as he was known to friends, was born into an upper middle class life in 19...
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“Let us endeavor so to live” wrote Mark Twain in Puddinhead Wilson, “so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” It’s an ethos we’ve always embraced, and there’s a simplified version that we continually carry in the back of our minds: Strive to leave an interesting obituary.,  John V. Aspinall accomplished just that, and upon his death in 2000 the New York Times described him as a “rakish millionaire” and his native British press as “mischief maker-in-chief.” Aspinall’s journey to high-society notoriety was fully self-made, the result of a life spent playing solely by his own rules. Aspers, as he was known to friends, was born into an upper middle class life in 1926. An easy child he was not, his attendance at a preparatory school as a teen ended in an expulsion for being “idle and rebellious.” Upon turning to the Army surgeon who had raised in hopes he would assist in covering gambling debts young Aspinall was refused, learning in turn that this man was not his actual father, but rather that his conception was the result of a dalliance between his mother and a soldier beneath a tree at the Regimental Ball. Aspinall took great pride in this fact, feeling it gave his background an air of daring and romance. He was at this point enrolled in Oxford, where he was interested less in his text books and more in a novel called “Nala the Lily” which told the story of an illegitimate Zulu Prince who ran away to live amongst the animals in the African bush. On the day of his final exams Aspinall skipped class to attend the horse races at Ascot. While this resulted in his failing out of Oxford he instead won a sizeable sum from his bets, cementing his decision to make professional gambler his chosen career. He started small as a bookie, but soon set his sights to bigger and better things. Upon researching the laws, he found a loophole that would lead to his fortune. Though most gambling in Britain was illegal at the time, Chemin De Fer, a version of baccarat known colloquially as “chemmy” was legal as the bets were solely amongst the players, and the house allowed to take 5% of the wagers. Yet gambling houses were still against the law, which were defined as any location where such games occurred more than three times. Thus Aspinall made two decisions, his games would be “floating” changing locations each time- and since he was limited to 5% of the pots, he would make sure the pots were as large as possible by catering only to the wealthiest of London society. , Using his Oxford connections Aspinall secured private homes in the toniest parts of London, and sent hand embossed invitations to the who’s who of London’s elite. The combination of luxury and vice proved irresistible to the upper crust, and the games quickly became so successful that Aspinall’s take in a single evening would be close to $400,000 today.,  With his newfound wealth Aspinall began to indulge in his Nala the Lily inspired whims, keeping at first in the garden of his urban Lodon apartment a monkey, a tiger, and two brown bears. These gatherings became famed amongst the men of London society, with an invitation being seen as an honor and millions of pounds being wagered each hour. Yet the games were still operating in a grey area of the law, which Aspinall sought to smooth over by having his mother pay off the local precincts. By1958 these payoffs began to slow, and so one evening a mansion hosting Aspinall’s games was raided by police. So influential was the crowd inside during the bust that instead of any arrests, the incident instead lead to an act of Parliament that legalized gambling, and Aspinall was one of the first awarded a casino license. He built an opulent gambling palace called the Clermont Club in London’s Mayfair district, and amongst the regulars were billionaires, royalty, celebrities, and landed British aristocracy who now accepted the gregarious Aspinall as one of their own. Flush with millions in proceeds, Aspinall purchased a sprawling country estate in Kent called Howletts where he would establish a private zoo to rival most any public institution. So expensive was the upkeep of Howletts and its animals that the money coming in from the casinos soon ran dry, so Aspinall conspired with London underworld figures to devise an elaborate plans involving multiple actors and complicated machinery to count cards in the favor of the house, leading to millions more in profits. The scam, known later as “The Big Edge”, allowed Aspinall to purchase another grand estate, Port Lympne, which tripled the size of his existing zoo. Though known to squire a variety of exceptionally beautiful women, Aspinall spent nearly all of his time outside of the casinos with his animals, particularly gorillas, the company of which hel openly admitted to preferring over that of other humans. In contrast to most zoos Aspinall insisted on open, cageless environments offering maximum interaction between humans and animals, despite the fact that it lead to the deaths of no less than 5 of his zookeepers over the years. Aspinall stayed an active and celebrated figure in both his gambling halls and zoos right up until his diagnosis with cancer at the age of 73 in 1999. Upon being told his diagnosis was terminal, Aspers, ever the gambler and charmer exclaimed to the press “You can have 5 to 2 against me making it, or better yet, I’ll give you 3 to 1. It’s a good bet, I only have a thirty percent chance of surviving this.” He would pass away nine months later and was buried at his zoo, both of which continue to be run by the John Aspinall foundation. As ones who also appreciate the details, aim for the best, enjoy a good game, and salute the one of a kind, we dedicate our Handcrafted Leather Backgammon Set to the storied spirit of John Aspinall, Mischief-Maker-In-Chief.
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We would love to hear about the adventures you have had with your Ghurka Bag.

Send your stories to: stories@ghurka.com

Ghurka Features

  • Our Leather

    Ghurka leather is never pretreated to remove any flaws, we must begin by using the most naturally flawless hides available. While we utilize a variety of leather types based on which is best suited to a particular product, the majority of our goods are made from French calfskin. Calfskin has a finer grain and softer feel than traditional cowhide as the younger age of the animal brings less exposure to the harsh elements, the main cause of imperfection. French calfskin in particular is considered the finest in the world due to the fact that farms in France do not use barbed wire, one of the leading causes of mars and scratches. As no two skins are completely alike, each and every handcrafted leather Ghurka product will have an individual character that adds to its unique patina as it ages.

  • The Stitching

    We use an extra-thick spun nylon that should never snap or fray, and all of our craftsmen ensure that each and every piece is stitched to our exacting standards. A careful review of any two parts of a Ghurka leather luggage piece will reveal exactly the same number of stitches per inch, a requirement for anything that leaves our workshop. The placement of these stitches is equally exact, precisely laid out to the millimeter to ensure that every bit of leather is assembled to last a lifetime.

  • The Brass

    Brass is the only metal we've found that offers the strength, durability, and reliability that have become our hallmark. Every single piece of our hardware - from zippers, buckles, and hooks to the smallest of snaps and rivets are made solely from this rugged and beautiful material. A great deal of time and expense has been invested in perfecting our brass zippers. Every single tooth is individually machined and polished to ensure flawless operation after years of continuous use. And since all of our leather briefcase and leather travel bag hardware is solid brass and never plated, it too will develop a unique character and patina as it ages alongside our famous leather.

  • The Process

    Since our founding, Ghurka has set out to manufacture the highest handcrafted leather goods available in the U.S. This has always begun with using only the finest hides in the world. While there are endless varieties of leather available, only a handful pass the rigorous selection process required to bear the Ghurka medallion. Likewise, our signature solid brass hardware and trademark stitching process ensure that our bags deliver an unparalleled owner experience and lifetime of use.

  • Our Leather

    learn more

    show less

    Our Leather

    Ghurka leather is never pretreated to remove any flaws, we must begin by using the most naturally flawless hides available. While we utilize a variety of leather types based on which is best suited to a particular product, the majority of our goods are made from French calfskin. Calfskin has a finer grain and softer feel than traditional cowhide as the younger age of the animal brings less exposure to the harsh elements, the main cause of imperfection. French calfskin in particular is considered the finest in the world due to the fact that farms in France do not use barbed wire, one of the leading causes of mars and scratches. As no two skins are completely alike, each and every handcrafted leather Ghurka product will have an individual character that adds to its unique patina as it ages.

  • The Stitching

    learn more

    show less

    The Stitching

    We use an extra-thick spun nylon that should never snap or fray, and all of our craftsmen ensure that each and every piece is stitched to our exacting standards. A careful review of any two parts of a Ghurka leather luggage piece will reveal exactly the same number of stitches per inch, a requirement for anything that leaves our workshop. The placement of these stitches is equally exact, precisely laid out to the millimeter to ensure that every bit of leather is assembled to last a lifetime.

  • The Brass

    learn more

    show less

    The Brass

    Brass is the only metal we've found that offers the strength, durability, and reliability that have become our hallmark. Every single piece of our hardware - from zippers, buckles, and hooks to the smallest of snaps and rivets are made solely from this rugged and beautiful material. A great deal of time and expense has been invested in perfecting our brass zippers. Every single tooth is individually machined and polished to ensure flawless operation after years of continuous use. And since all of our leather briefcase and leather travel bag hardware is solid brass and never plated, it too will develop a unique character and patina as it ages alongside our famous leather.

  • The Process

    learn more

    show less

    The Process

    Since our founding, Ghurka has set out to manufacture the highest handcrafted leather goods available in the U.S. This has always begun with using only the finest hides in the world. While there are endless varieties of leather available, only a handful pass the rigorous selection process required to bear the Ghurka medallion. Likewise, our signature solid brass hardware and trademark stitching process ensure that our bags deliver an unparalleled owner experience and lifetime of use.