.. is a natural outcome of a major and pervading interest in the game of chess. We start collecting mainly out of nostalgia - or of a fascination with the basics of whatever field of human activity captures our fancy. Chess collecting is not mainstream nowadays - as chess inexorably recedes from our society's conscience, and fades away as major pastime in families and public places.
Collecting for me is quite different from hoarding, which is the deformed outcome of greed and avariciousness. Collecting means appreciating artefacts as symbols of human activity, as milestones or mementos of certain cultural trends, and finally as museal remnants fo lifes disappeared. It means cataloguing, delving into the origins, documenting if possible provenance and former owners, the uses etc. It also means preserving old things, as we are only temporary holders of them, and somebody will come after us to observe, preserve, use and question our collectors items. The more time one can devote to the collection the more one learns - about the things themselves, their background - and ultimately about ourselves as well!
It is a good idea to limit one's scope - for the simplest of reasons like space, time and money. But also because nobody can collect everything, even in a small field. In the end we are wise to stick to Casanova's motto of "collecting beautiful moments!" A collection can be nicely rounded without being encompassing or enormous.
As a collector and lifelong chess player with some ambitions I have concentrated on the tools of the game - pieces mainly, with some boards and clocks along. That would be the mainstream in chess collecting. Other collectors might be more interested in chess variants (like Shogi, Turkish chess, Thai or Burmese chess, Mongolian chess etc.), in chess stamps, in fine literature on chess, in chess books, chess mementos, chess telephone cards (yes, there are a lot of them!), in chess postcards, in chess as a publicity tool, in tournament posters, painted pictures and prints, everdyday tools with a chess motive and so on. Chess traverses our culture in such a strong manner, that its symbols have become part of the everyday iconography, and are easily recognized and widely used in publicity and all kinds of commercial applications.
I have tried to capture as many as possible of these collectors strains in the Links section - a lot of this can be found on the web, or at least via the web. The web has become a useful tool for comparing, buying and selling, and congregating collectors on an international scale. My aim as a collector is to understand and learn - and to provide a bit of support for others who are tramping along the same trail.