17 February 2013

Fischer's Doodle

It goes without saying that my fortnightly series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price depends on one key resource being available: eBay. While I was reviewing items sold in the last fortnight, eBay burped and decided that the only search results it would give me were '0 results found for chess'.

Luckily I had already looked at one item, pictured below, that would have been a strong candidate for this post even if everything had been working normally. It reminded me of the previous post, Beating Dr.Lasker in a Simul, where I mentioned that Fischer items are 'the most frequently seen grandmaster items of yore' and which also featured an autograph.

The current item was titled '3 BOBBY FISCHER vs SPASSKY AUTOGRAPHED CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TICKETS 1972' and sold for US $1083.99 after three bids. By eBay standards that's not a lot of bids, but this is not a common item.

The description said,

These 3 tickets belong to my sister-in-law's sister from Iceland. In 1972 she worked in the Hotel Loftleidir gift shop where she met Bobby Fischer and he signed the backs of her 3 tickets.

The tickets are a large size 2 3/4 x 6 3/4". The tickets are folded down the center. He also made a drawing of a chess strategy? on one of the tickets.

These tickets are ultra rare and likely the only ones in existence. I decided to auction these tickets together rather than auction them seperately keeping them together for presitge for the winning bidder.

Also interesting was the 'Question & Answer' section.

Q: I have been collecting, selling and showing chess items related to the match here in Iceland for many years. I would advice you not to sell these tickets below 1400-1600 USD. I have sold signed envelops by Bobby and I have a minimum price of 450 USD. Signed tickets are rare and there are many who like them so I would value them higher than 450. if your sister in law lives in Iceland I would gladly advice here. [R.S.], a member of the Icelandic Chess Federation Chess Museum.

Q: Do you guarantee these autographs will pass JSA or PSA certification? Why is the strategy drawing in blue ink while his autograph is in black ink? • A: Certification is not a problem because I know from my sister-in-law and her sister that they are authentic, Bobby signed them in front of her when she worked in the gift shop, she kept them all these years. I will ask her about the blue & black ink/only she would know. I will probably have to add this info to the auctions description and soon. • Later ('Seller added the following information'): Concerning why he signed in blue and drew the checkmate in black: she met Bobby more than once when he came in the gift shop to buy gifts and they were acquainted, she asked him to sign her tickets and he did with his own blue ink pen, then he used her black ink pen to highlight the drawing from his name making a point.

Q: I have the largest collection of Fischer material in the world. I wrote a book showing some of my Fischer items that I've accumulated over the last 30 years. The book is titled, Bobby Fischer Uncensored. I have sold over 300 copies at $350-$450 each. I was wondering if you would consider selling them to me so I can add them to the collection. I would also give you a copy of the Fischer book so you could see the many wonderful items in my collection.

It's curious that the tickets sold for less than what the first questioner advised, but that's eBay. As for the 'chess strategy' shown on the back of the first ticket -- after taking a good look at it, I decided that it could be a doodle about nearly anything.

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