11 March 2010

Top eBay Chess Items by Price

For the next month or so, my time for blogging is going to be extremely limited, but I'm reluctant to stop completely. Instead, I'll concentrate on topics that don't take much effort, like photos and videos. Another area that requires minimum effort is eBay.

For the About.com forum I used to do a weekly look at eBay chess auctions that I called 'Top eBay chess items by price'. There were two consecutive threads -- spanning 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 -- that started with active auctions and eventually included closed auctions. This time around I'll concentrate on closed auctions. I used to describe the more interesting auction items, because I was unable to use photos from the descriptions, but these days I'm less concerned about any adverse consequences.

Ebay auctions work for me on several levels. First, they teach me about the impact of chess on society for the last hundred years and more. Second, they teach me about both the eBay and Internet cultures, because eBay was one of the original services that showed the real power of network connectivity that we all take for granted these days. Third, they are a trove of much weird, wonderful, and wacky chess paraphernalia.

I set up a new category -- Posts with label eBay -- and added some relevant historical posts. The most recent in the category was Ghostly Fischer Images, which reminded me about the old forum threads. Here are two resources to retrieve eBay items.

Looking at the most recent closed auctions (eBay search finds them for two weeks after the auction ends), I noticed six for aluminum chess sets by Austin Enterprises. Five of the sets sold in the range of $555 to $760. The set pictured here sold for US $760 after nine bids.

Its description said,

'Modernist chess set comprised of extruded aluminum pieces in natural and coppery brown anodized finishes, by Austin Enterprises for Aluminum Company of America' (i.e. Alcoa)

along with sizes and conditions. The photo shows four pieces in front of the box holding the other pieces.

It's worth noting that of the 50 highest priced closed auctions, only five found a buyer. Of the 50 highest priced active auctions, there is not yet a single bid.


December 2016: At some time earlier this year the link for closed items stopped working correctly. The replacement link is

In the original post I wrote 'Closed - requires eBay ID & password', but that restriction was removed several years later.

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