18 November 2010

Blog -> Email -> Facebook -> Ebay

I had a small role to play in this fortnight's pick for Top eBay Chess Items by Price. Last month I received an email from an Australian correspondent who had a photo postcard

of the participants of the "Staunton" World Chess Tournament in Groningen (Netherlands) August - September 1946, signed (original signatures) by the participants, including: [names of players] I am keen to sell these items but would appreciate any suggestions as to what may be the best way to do so. I have no idea as to their worth, but assume they would have value to a collector or enthusiast. (I note your blog mentions a 1970 card was sold for $460, but I do not know if that tournament had any special significance). Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

After a bit of clicking, I realized that he was referring to my blog post 1970 Palma de Mallorca Autographs from July 2009. Except for a few odds and ends related to the World Championship, I'm not a collector, so I contacted a Facebook friend from Australia who helpfully gave the name of a dealer located down under. A few weeks later I saw the following photo on eBay bearing the title '1946 World Chess Tournament - Photo & 20 Autographs' and was sure that it was the piece mentioned by my Australian correspondent.

The description said,

A very rare collectable item of a photograph and autographs of the participants in the 1946 World Chess Tournament, Groningen, Holland. After Alekhine's death as incumbent world chess champion in 1946, the chess world entered a period of interregnum where no grandmaster could legitimately claim the title as his own. The first great post-war tournament was that at Groningen in Holland. This witnessed a mighty race between the former champion Dr Max Euwe and the chief Soviet protagonist Mikhail Botvinnik. [...]

It is interesting to note that the photo/card shows 13 standing and 8 sitting, whilst the names and signatures on the back reflect only 20 persons.

The card received 1 bid and sold for US $750. When I received the original email message, I assumed there was no way a 1946 Groningen card could be worth more than a 1970 Palma de Mallorca card with Fischer's signature. Just shows you what I know. As for the discrepancy between the 21 men shown on the card and the 20 names on the back of the card, the unidentifed person appears to be the tall, dark haired fellow standing in the back row, eighth from the left, between Szabo and Denker.

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