Fisching for Forgeries - Chess Autographs

Fisching for Forgeries - Chess Autographs

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The meat of the book is contained in the author’s commentary and illustrations of what is real about Fischer’s work, compared with what is sometimes laughably false.  This is a very visual presentation, and not well supplanted by my textual commentary on it, which would add little sense.  Try visiting the book's website to gain your own sense of what’s real and what is not!  Here's an example from the book:

Fisching for Forgeries pg 26

Somewhere six cases of Fischer memorabilia went missing in California, and these, or what is purported to be these, plus other memorabilia or ‘ephemera’ as they are also known, show up from time to time on e-Bay for as little as $50, but often for much, much more.

The author guides the reader to a better likelihood of obtaining real Fischer memorabilia – which might be extended to any collector on any subject trying to purchase material on-line by such means as e-bay – compared with the usual shenanigans of supporting false material by COA’s, Certificates of Authenticity, themselves rather suspect!

The value of adding color to this visual work is that false presentations can be compared with the real, but more importantly, that copies of real material can be differentiated from originals.

If you were about to spend several hundred dollars on a Fischer-item, should you not spend $15 first?  That, in a nutshell, is what this book is about.  Since it is dedicated to Fischer memorabilia, guidance is not abstract, but concrete enough to examine real game-scores and varieties of signature over time – during which forgeries flourished and e-Bay type sales methods seemed perfect to ‘rook’ the gullible.  It's specifically Fischer approach offers immediate and practical advice to new and experienced collectors, alike.

Another example from the book, this time from authentic originals:

Fisching for Forgeries pg  31

A final comment should be about the introduction of the title, written by none other than GM Larry Evans, whose words are as good as any I can paraphrase, so I quote him directly:

    In 1970 Bobby and I played for America at the World Team Championship in Siegen, Germany two years before he wrestled the title from Boris Spassky.  Already he was mobbed whenever we appeared in public, and I was surprised to learn he carried an ink pad to stamp his signature for his insatiable fans.

    Lawrence Totaro has prepared this booklet as a labor of love for the serious collector.  Perhaps it will become as rare and precious as the lovely items in his own collection.

So… to finish with two points – Larry Evans finds the value of this work as important as does Andy Ansel, who in his foreword, adds the term ‘invaluable’ to it for serious or even casual collectors, and warns against ‘unscrupulous dealers’.

I have a signed edition of the work, direct from the author, and this notice stands as pedigree! – and from an author who indeed, has done us all a service in sniffing out the real from the false, and suggesting ways in which you too, can do the same.

Probably a must-buy for any collector or chess memorabilia – definitely so for Fischer-fans.
By Lawrence Totaro

Thinkers’ Press 2007

ISBN: 1888710322

Introduction: GM Larry Evans Foreword: Andy Ansel Afterword by: Sheila Lowe

58 pages, color, $14.95


  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888710322
  • Paperback: 58 pages

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