The Franklin Mint was a private mint founded in 1964 by Joseph Segel. The mint originally operated in Wawa, Pennsylvania but was closed not too long after the Franklin Mint opened. Despite closing the actual minting operation, Franklin Mint continues to prosper as a private equity firm in Exton, Pennsylvania selling collectables of all assortments. Among these collectibles are quality metallic chess sets that cost hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars.
In 1980, what is today known as Time Warner bought The Franklin Mint for over two hundred million dollars. The Franklin Mint has since been sold to numerous other companies before settling in 2009 with the company's current investors whom have begun taking the company back to its collectible roots.
Why are The Franklin Mint chess sets so popular? The Franklin Mint chess sets are strictly collectible. Most people who purchase chess sets from The Franklin Mint do so without any intention of playing chess with the sets. The thought is that the chess sets are investments. Very few are made and over time, as long as the sets are kept in mint condition, the value of the chess sets will increase dramatically.
These chess sets are made more with appearance in mind than anything else. The King Tut chess set is a perfect example. The glass pyramid cover over the gold plated pieces practically screams, "do not touch". You know not to touch the Faberge chess set as soon as you see the gold Faberge egg pieces. Both sets cost over a thousand dollars even though they are the newest sets to come from The Franklin Mint and are both still in production. When you buy a Franklin Mint chess set you are buying not just a game board, but a lifelong investment.