31 March 2013

Caveat Fischer - Spassky

'Not another post about the 1972 Fischer - Spassky match', I can hear you groaning. Yes, I'm afraid it is, the third out of the last four posts in this ongoing series about Top eBay Chess Items by Price, where the previous 'Match of the Century' post was 1972 Fischer - Spassky Poster. Along with the auction I'm featuring here, there was even a second lot of miscellaneous items from the match on my short list. That auction went for $600.

The current auction was titled '1972 World Chess Champions Bobby Fischer Boris Spassky in Reykjavik'. The description said,

21 tickets from the World Chess Championship 1972 in Reykjavik. 40 covers and some are of the same sort. One of three chess clocks used in the match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky

This lot sold for US $3500 after 33 bids from 10 bidders. The 21 tickets and 40 covers would probably have trouble fetching three figures on their own, so the main object of attention was the clock, pictured below.

One of the bidders asked,

I was hoping you might enlighten me on how you acquired the clock and tickets etc.? Is there any full-proof this clock was indeed one of the official clocks of the World Championship series?

and was told,

I am selling these items for a good friend of my mother. These items belonged to her husband that passed away. He was working at the tournament where the world chess championship 1972 was held in Reykjavik. His name was [KOK]. That is where the clock was acquired.

What caught my attention was the color of the wood used in the clock. I have a similar clock that I received for my birthday many years ago and the entire clock is made from wood pieces that are all close in color. The clock in the photo clearly shows a darker wood on the four edges of the clock frame, where my clock has a light color, like the wood surrounding the clock faces in the photo.

I did a Google image search on 'fischer spassky 1972' and couldn't find a single example of a photo showing a clock with two colors for the wood. This, of course, proves nothing in itself, but someone plunked down $3500 on an item that can't be verified.

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