Chess set used by Fischer and Spassky in '72 soars to $76,275 The original chess set used by Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky at their legendary match in Iceland in 1972, signed by both men, soared to $76,275 at a ssle held April 1-3 by Philip Weiss Auctions.
News-Antique.com - Apr 07,2011 - (OCEANSIDE, N.Y.) – The original World Chess Championship chess set used by Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky at their legendary match in Iceland in 1972, signed by both men, soared to $76,275 at a weekend multi-estate sale held April 1-3 by Philip Weiss Auctions. The sale was held in the firm’s spacious gallery facility, located at #1 Neil Court in Oceanside.
The chess set was used in the third match of the series, dubbed the “back room game” because Fischer blamed his loss in the first match (and subsequent default in the second match) on cameras in the room. But for the third match, he got Spassky to agree to play in a small room, away from the cameras’ glare and out of view from spectators. He won that match, and the title.
Also, an archive of personal material pertaining to Mr. Fischer – an intensely private and even reclusive man – crossed the block, fetching $9,888. The lot included a copy of the book My Seven Chess Prodigies, by John W. Collins, inscribed by Fischer “to adorable Zita from Bobby,” dated 1991; and several love letters written to Zita (evidently the love of his life), from the ‘90s.
The chess set was the top lot in a three-day auction event that was a blockbuster by anyone’s standards. Over 1,500 lots in a wide array of categories crossed the block, and in the end more than $600,000 had been spent by eager bidders. They participated in person, over the phone, via absentee bids and online (through Proxibid.com, with over 500 registered bidders, plus 300 more bidders using the Philip Weiss Auctions website, at www.weissauctions.com).
The auction kicked off April 1 with a session dedicated to postcards, paper, autographs and rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. Saturday, April 2, featured folk art, Native American items and militaria. The Sunday session had stamps, coins, transportation, aviation, automotive and marine. “Outstanding live, Internet and phone participation made this sale a success,” Philip Weiss said.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.
A turn-of-the-century Cigar Store Indian, nicknamed “Chief Poke in the Nose” because some mishaps over time caused some damage to his nose, went for $62,150. The Indian, over seven feet tall and made sometime in the 1890s, had previously stood guard at the Schweizer Sporting Goods & Cigar Store in Hoosick Fall, N.Y. It is a wonderful example of Americana.
A 45 rpm record sleeve with bold blue ink signatures of all four Beatles, plus 1960s radio disc jockey Charlie Murdock from WQAM, dated Sept. 11, 1964, realized $6,215. The lot also featured Murdock’s business card, three black and white magazine clippings of the Beatles, a letter telling the story of how the signatures were obtained, and a letter of authenticity from JSA.
A rock ‘n’ roll concert poster from 1969, for the California Rock Festival in San Jose, Calif. (May 23-25), in mint condition and featuring artwork by Linda Segul, breezed to $2,034. The