Tuesday, November 16, 2010


My heyday for selling previously owned (some people refer to them as "used") chess literature was in the late 80s and 90s. After 9/11 a lot of "chessy" things went under the radar except to the inveterate collector. Collectors tend to be more realistic than "newbies" to collecting. The collector "knows" that not everything can be had in perfect condition even if you are willing to pay a fortune for it.

Many items in David DeLucia's Chess Library of A Few Old Friends (second edition) I once owned, if they were after 1840 or so (although I did have some Philidor stuff...) I got them through acquiring various collections. It was a "sixth sense" if you want to call it that when it came to determining the price of something (which is different than the "value" of something). I was about 15 when my grandfather and I were taking some chunk of beef to a cattle auction because he needed some money. As we were riding into town he asked, "What do you think he'll get?" Being young and dumb I fired out "$500." (I tended then, as now, to round numbers.) When it was over the steer went for $480 (I think).

It got so that I could appraise a big collection that I was removing from a household in quick time because I "knew" (don't know how) what a box of books on chess would be worth. I took that "value" and multiplied it times the number of boxes. I also took into consideration the age of the deceased, whether he had money (of course spending it all on chess books could certainly deplete that), and how did he house the books. In many cases I travelled TO the site, maybe 50% of the time, van in hand or truck arrangements to be made.

To test my hypothesis I recall "bidding" on a listed collection and paid 10% more than a well-known "antiquer of chess" and I got it. No, unlike some unethicals when it came to bidding on selling at a chess site, I had no pre-knowledge of anyone else's bids, if there were any.

Getting back to David DeLucia... his book is being sold by New in Chess for $350.00 + shipping (from Holland). Andy Ansel was selling them to a few Chess Clinic attendees. Ask me HOW you can get this book from me without going overseas (and saving some money at the same time). My price includes careful shipping to your US residence from a US residence, and I will have a brand new one sent to you.

There are hundreds of photographs on glossy paper, a smyth sewn green binding. Photos are in color when applicable. There are letters (Alekhine, Fischer and so on) reproduced, and often with a typescript copy. It's an absolute treasure trove of chess memorabilia.

Two items I have chosen to illustrate are the colorful cover of a book by Henry Bird and a black and white photo (moire pattern from the scanning process) of Joseph Henry Blackburne, the next chess character in the series of The Chess Gangs of New York and London. By the way, "foreigners" are gobbling up the recent Lasker the Ultimate Streetfighter "book" (51 pages) I recently issued. I have about 35 left. You can get one free if you purchase $100+ worth of chess materials from me in "paired" months, such as Nov-Dec, Jan-Feb, etc. I will run this series for 2 years (hopefully). I am getting ready to start "pushing" used book sales again.

Due to currency regulations (translation: thin wallet) I am only taking chess book collections on consignment at this time for resale. It will be nice to see a new crop of collectors.


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