Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A year of collecting

I have been collecting a little more than a year for now. A few things to say:

First, I have come to conclusion that I do not want to amass a great quantity of sets. I will try to keep the number below 30. Right now it is 15 or so. I will eventually sell sets which do not give me the jolt of joy any more. These sets will disappear from this blog as well. Every collector has to make decisions like that and my decision is to have only these pieces which I really, really like (if affordable, of course). This site will therefore remain relatively small but I hope that you will still like it :)

Second, I want to express my deepest gratitude to Alan Dewey the chess set restorer, Jon Crumiller, Floyd Sarisohn and other people from eBay Chess Collectors group (organized in the most smooth and friendly way by Robert van der Veur) for many words of valuable advice.

Third, most of my sets have come from eBay. I have had experience with only one complete fraudster during that year. The average John B. Ebayer is generally honest although he can be a weasel from time to time. Care must be taken to avoid outright con men, though. One of my previous postings was about that topic.

The popularity of chess collecting seems to be on rise and spreading over the world. EBay is a great resource but nothing can beat great chess auctions where the collectors from all over the world gather. The latest of this kind was the auction of the collection of late Dr. Cholet at Christie's held in this spring. Bloomsbury's auction house carries out chess auctions periodically, being the only major auction house to do so. The catalogues of these events are very much worth studying. Liveauctioneers.com website features information about many past auctions and can be used for price comparision. Auction houses usually provide free price range estimates which might be useful, too.

Fourth, as we are living in the first decades of the Information age, I really hope that more and more collectors consider putting up a webpage. Blog software is an easy solution but might not be suitable for larger collections. I work as an IT professional and I would be delighted to provide advice in the World Wide Web matters. For instance, the Chess Collector's Knowledge Base might be used to house individual collections, too. Please leave a wish to contact to the comments section and I will contact you.

Thanks for your kind attention :)


Anonymous said...

I will shortly be placing this carved polychrome set up for auction on eBay
(the above should take you to the site where images of the entire set can be viewed.)
Can you advise me how to bring this auction to the attention of the widest spectrum of the chess collecting community?
I have had the set appraised. The certificate can be viewed here:
Elisha Ignatoff

Jan said...

Hello. Thank you for all your wonderful information.

I received a very small (1" tall) Amida Buddha from a friend (collector)(beautifully carved) approximately 42 years ago. The friend has since passed and now I need a place to market this item. I took it to the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City, Mo. where I now reside and was told by a yound woman in that department that this item is from the 18th century. I believe her last name was Carter. This was around 1983 or so. I read where it is getting more and more difficult, if not impossible to sell Ivory, even if it can be authenticated. The Buddha is signed on the bottom. Some one from the mid east told me that the name would convert to something that sounded like "Sho Don" with the "o" in the last name sounding like the "o" in drone. Any advice you might provide me with as to who I might contact with respect to this item would be appreciated. None of my children would be appreciative of this Buddha, otherwise I would bequeath it. Thank you kindly for any assistance you might provide. Jan

Blog Owner said...

I am not a resident of the United States but I contacted an American collector and received this response:

"Unfortunately I don’t have any advice for the commenter. In addition to the new Federal ivory regulations, some states are now passing laws that prohibit any buying or selling of anything with ivory in it, whether the ivory is antique or not. So unless she can get an auction house in Kansas City or elsewhere to sell it, the item is essentially valueless."

It seems to me that since the item is small and its value cannot be high in any case, the smartest thing to do could be to gift it to a close friend or relative for keeping. It might suddenly turn marketable after another 100 years or so like many antique oddities do. Unfortunately, it is impossible to foresee if and when it could happen.