I have the current Quality Club Special and was curious about the original set that was being sold. I ordered one to compare to the newer one. See the pics attached. Here are my observations:
1.) the plastic appears to be of a better quality (the white pieces are a softer butter color rather than the brighter butter color of the current one. Also, the plastic is more matte finish (which I like better) and doesn't seem to have the spider lines running in it like the current one can (the gloss finish seems to bring that out more)
2.) the weight seems identical. So that is a wash.
3.) the felt is different. On the current model, it is nicer....just a little thicker which gives some softening to the pieces. On the older/original set it feels more like sandpaper. It is thinner. It doesn't feel like felt but rather like a paper felt. I like the current felt better.....feels like it will last longer.
4.)appearance-wise, I like the original a tad more.....the matte finish is really nice and it just seems to be a little better plastic in the set.
Now.....is it worth the extra money for the original set? You only get one queen per/color in the original where you get 2 extra queens with the current, and the felts are nicer on the current, but the finish is better on the original. I think it is a toss up as to what you like. These don't cost much in the grand scheme of things, so if you wish to grab an original it won't set you back much. Personally, I think it is worth it. I love old French Lardy sets and these knights from the Quality Club Special sets gets closest to the original carvings that I have found. I think that matte shows that off a bit more. I wish someone would carve the original French Lardy from the 1940's and 1950's. It would be a wood set I would buy. And, I would love it if the companies would make a higher quality plastic version with larger plastic pieces and just a tad more detail in the knight carving to match the old French sets.....that would be an even stellar set than this club set. All in all, my favorite design in chess. Thank you Chesshouse for finding these old ones.
There aren't many left.....so grab one if you want this mint piece of history. They are a tad different than the current Quality Club sets. To me, it was worth getting one before they were gone.