Aims and Goals of our Auction House
It is a sad fact that good chess books are no longer being produced. Let us hasten to say that they are being written, probably better than ever in terms of technical content, and they are being published in ever increasing numbers, but they are not being produced with the quality and craftsmanship of the past.
The old tournament books, and even the general textbooks of the nineteenth century in particular, were a joy to hold and feel. Their heft, the craft of the binder, the gilder and the sewer were all evident. The modern book with its paper cover, its adhesive backing and acid ridden paper, is calculated to disintegrate within a generation. It is probably true to say that in the last fifty years there has not been a chess book, or indeed for that matter any book on probably any subject, produced that could be considered desirable from the point of longevity, a fundamental requirement for the would-be collector.
The net result is that the pool of collectable books is at best finite, more than likely even less so, because of attrition through loss, damage and neglect. What this means essentially, is that old chess books per se represent a very good long-term investment. While it is true that not all of these old books are necessarily leather bound, etc., nevertheless the majority of them were so well constructed that they have withstood very well the passage of time and with reasonable care will continue to do so.
It is a fact that hitherto in the main, it has been the chess aficionado who has been the collector of chess literature, but there is a growing appreciation among other types of collectors and investors of the potential for this form of collecting. To some extent the beginner in this field has faced a daunting array of literature from many lands on many different fields of chess, nearly all of which are of specialist sub interest. By this we mean chess tournament books, chess opening books, chess periodicals, American, British, French, Russian, German chess literature, etc, the chess classic authors, Ruy Lopez, Damiano, Lucena, Philidor, and so on, the list is practically endless.
It is the intention of this auction house, to make available through our auction catalogue, meaningful information on the various aspects of chess books and associated literature. We will for instance write comprehensively on each of these headings and will be happy to provide advice to would-be collectors as well as information and estimates of value on request whether it be for single items or for a big library. We will pay particular attention to scholarly and correct bibliographical description and will be most careful to list any attendant defects in any lot we offer.
It is our intention to expand the world of chess book collecting, to educate and assist those may be thinking of starting, and to provide an exciting and reliable source for those who are already experienced in the world of collecting.
Welcome, and enjoy!
Jim Hayes and Alexander Baburin