06 December 2015

Culling a Collection

This current edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price started badly. As I was working my way down the list of top items, selecting recently sold items for my short list, I realized that there were fewer items than usual. On top of that, the items were mostly chess sets. While I'll feature a chess set from time to time, there is more to chess collecting than sets.

When I reached my price cutoff point faster than usual, with almost nothing on my short list, I went back to see if the item on the previous edition, Chess Charcoal Drawing, was listed. Sure enough, it was missing. Then I noticed that the results page carried a notice near the top, 'All > Toys & Hobbies > Games'. Somehow my usual query had been altered to restrict items to the referenced category. I eliminated the restriction and again had a full list that I could work with.

I noticed long ago that eBay is constantly changing the look-and-feel of its web interface, usually catering to the needs of mobile users. It became so annoying that a few years ago I stopped using the auction service except for the 'Top Chess Items' series. If eBay doesn't want laptop customers, that's their choice.

Back to my short list, it was now longer than usual. While analyzing the items I had flagged, I realized they were almost all for books and signed documents, all from the same seller. The following image shows the top items from that seller; left to right, top to bottom, the items are for Chigorin, Ruy Lopez, Em.Lasker, Philidor, Staunton, and Lasker again. There were many more after this.

I looked at the seller's feedback and noticed that one of the first items was for 'Bobby Fischer Uncensored – Limited paperback edition'. The item's description started,

In 2009, I published Bobby Fischer Uncensored. At the suggestion of a friend I had a small number of books printed in paperback. It is the only time I ever did it. I still have a few copies left that I am now offering. Here is what Edward Winter had to say about the book when it was published:

"One of the most extraordinary of all chess books has just been published: Bobby Fischer Uncensored by David and Alessandra DeLucia (Darien, 2009). A richly-illustrated 394-page hardback of supreme quality, it presents hundreds of items from David DeLucia’s collection of Fischer material, including photographs, game-scores, correspondence, contracts, books and ephemera."

I've featured DeLucia’s collection several times on this blog, including Three Fischer Games Uncensored (October 2010). Looks like the world's top chess collector is/was selling a portion of his collection.

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