The Collector's Trove - What We Do, How We Do It
The Collector's Trove is an online auction house that specializes in running online auctions for former TSR employees, gaming industry designers, artists and insiders. Our goal is to help these individuals to realize the maximum value of their collections at auction.
We run large block auctions of conceptually related items from the collections of these unique game creator's collections, usually electronically using eBay. We try to place an auction every minute in large blocks of several hundred items.
This site is a repository of information on what auctions we have run, what auctions are iminent or running now, our expected calendar of future auctions, and our future collections.
The Collector's Trove Presents...
The Collector's Trove is world famous for the auctions it has run for ex-TSR and gaming industry designers and artists. Previous auctions include the collections of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, Rob Kuntz, Dave Megarry, Dave Sutherland III, Ernie Gygax, Steve Marsh, Tim Jiardini, Len Lakofka, Eric Shook, Kevin Hendryx, Bill Hoyer, Mike Mornard, Darlene, and David "Zeb" Cook. Highlights of these auctions are as follows:
David C. Sutherland III (3 auctions, 134 items sold to date):
The quintessential TSR artist, Dave had been with the company from 1975 until 1999. Dave's artwork illustrated the landscape of our fondly remembered youth and was much loved by the fans of Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Sadly Dave passed only a year after I got to know him. Having been diagnosed with a terminal condition he asked me to auction off his collection to build up a trust for his daughters. The response was terrific, in addition to a flood of fan mail and appreciation, the auctions managed to raise over $21,000. There were many records set with this auction but the highlight was certainly his collected Tekumel sketches and studies which sold at auction for $3,152! The DCSIII Tekumel Sketch and Study Collection
Stephen R. Marsh (3 auctions, 58 items sold to date):
Truly one of the great unsung heroes of RPG design, Steve influenced some of the greatest RPG's of our generation. Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, RuneQuest, and Call of Cthulhu all have benefited from this designers unlimited imagination and creativity. His collection included fabulous relics of his design career that spanned several decades, with one summer spent working at TSR. All this sat in his garage in a copier box, destined to be thrown to the curb, until a friend pointed him in my direction. Remarkable, this box of "junk" ended up selling in several auctions for nearly $8,000. The highlight for this auction being, of course, The Planes of Existence manuscript. This manuscript was to become the next big hardcover for TSR. Alas, fate stepped in over and over and the project was never realized. This fantastic unfinished manuscript and collected notes sold for $2,029! The Planes of Existence Manuscript
Timothy M. Jiardini (2 auctions, 121 items sold to date):
Tim was involved with TSR at a very young age and grew up with the company. He worked in shipping at TSR for several years and moved on to serve in various roles throughout the company. He often played in Ernie Gygax's campaign with his now famous, fallen ranger Arrarat published in the pages of The Rogue's Gallery by TSR. Tim picked up a number of interesting items during his days at TSR but much of it had been lost - or so he thought. After much prodding he scoured his parents home and discovered a box of gaming items for his TSR days before he moved out to go to college. An amazing assortment of items, these hidden treasures sold at auction for over $5,400. The highlight of the auction was the first AD&D Player's Handbook ever sold, signed and inscribed by Gary Gygax which sold for $1,524! The First Player's Handbook Ever Sold (Inscribed by Gary Gygax)
Lenard W. Lakofka (1 auction, 2 items sold to date):
Len Lakofka is a longtime contributor to the wargaming hobby and the RPG industry. Author of Leomund's Tiny Hut in The Dragon and Dragon Magazine, Len was involved with many aspects of the D&D and AD&D game, creating such classic adventure modules as L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, L2 The Assassin's Knot, and, in 1999, L3 The Deep Dwarven Delve. While discussing a few bits of historical lore with Mr. Lakofka, it was discovered that he had a few IFW fanzines from the early 70's. I bought some and offered to sell two of the remaining magazines for him. Hopefully, future auctions through The Collector's Trove can be planned for Mr. Lakofka.
Robert J. Kuntz (4 auctions, 375 items sold to date):
Rob Kuntz is one of the original players of Dungeons & Dragons and helped to shape the design of that game through clever play and eventually writing and designing. Rob served as co-DM with Gary Gygax in the famous Greyhawk Castle campaign in the early to late 1970's. His character Robilar a number of near-mythological feats in the Greyhawk campaign, many of which are the subject of everyday conversation of gamers all over the world. Highlight's of Rob's many contributions to game and RPG design and writing included: King & Things (a Charles Roberts award winner), WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, The Maze of Zayene, Garden of the Plantmaster, Sir Robilar's City of Brass, WG8 The fate of Istus, Dark Druids, Dark Chateau, CAS1 Cairn of the Skeleton King, CAS2 Tower of Blood, The Bottle City, Lake Geneva Castle Campaign: The Living Room, and more! His collection for auction was simply fantastic. It contained nearly everything imaginable, from the earliest relics of the pre-D&D days, to artwork, to manuscripts, to letters and contracts, to fiction mss., to original El Raja Key and Castle Greyhawk dungeon levels, and many more items that are too numerous to list here. In total the Robert J. Kuntz auctions reached nearly $33,000! The auctions garnered so much attention from collectors and fans that they received mention in SCRYE magazine (No. 86, pg. 10). The highlight of these auctions was the Bottle City level of Greyhawk Castle by Rob Kuntz. This 17" x 22" map and eight pages of level notes sold for $3,650! The Bottle City
Ernest "Ernie" Gary Gygax, Jr. (1 auction, 29 items sold to date):
Ernie Gygax, one of the founding players of the D&D game and son to Gary Gygax! Ernie's collection contained a small but amazing assortment of items and featured his own famous dungeon. Never named, it became known as the Dungeon Hobby Shop Dungeon, one of the most played dungeons of all time! Ernie ran this dungeon heavily from 1977 onward. He estimates easily over 1,000 players adventured within it. Many of these folks were customers of the Dungeon Hobby Shop and, much later, customers of The Game Guild. One of the more famous characters to arise from these games was Arrarat, Tim Jiardini's fallen ranger, made legend by his entry into the Rogues Gallery! Other players who adventured in the Dungeon Hobby Shop Dungeon include Gary Gygax (with Slidell), Rob Kuntz (with Robilar), Neil Christiansen, and many other TSR and Greyhawk regulars.
The auction was a resounding success, earning nearly $3,000 for just 29 items. The main highlight of the auction, of course, was the Dungeon Hobby Shop Dungeon that sold for $1,230!
The Massive 6th Level of The Dungeon Hobby Shop Dungeon
William "Bill" Hoyer (1 auction, 6 items sold to date):
Bill Hoyer was part of the group of amateur gamers from the IFW, LGTSA, and original Castle & Crusade Society that gave us GenCon, Chainmail, and Dungeons & Dragons! Bill playtested the original D&D game with Gary Gygax before the game was even published! Bill also worked for TSR for several years as the Assistant RPGA Coodinator along with Frank Mentzer.
Bill's collection consisted of a set of RPGA miniatures and a fantastic selection of TSR and RPGA belt buckles. The latter being just a few of the prizes and member only products offered to RPGA members in the early 1980's. The auction was a resounding success, earning over $800 for just 6 items. The main highlight of the auction was an RPGA, Copper Finish, Prize Buckle, only 1 of 20 ever made that sold for an amazing $308!
Only One of Twenty RPGA Copper Finish Prize Buckles Ever Made!
Eric Nelson Shook (1 auction, 22 items sold to date):
Eric Shook grew up in Lake Geneva and at an early age began playing with Rob Kuntz, one of the founding players of D&D. Eric went on to work for TSR at the Dungeon Hobby Shop and the RPGA. During his tenure in the RPGA he wrote R6 The Eye of the Bog for the first RPGA tournament in 1981! Eric quit TSR and took up the role of a freelancer to do graphics and cartography for classic modules such as WG4, WG5, EX1, and EX2.
Eric's auction by The Collector's Trove was a great success, totalling nearly $3,000, with several items going for astonishing amounts. Items of note included an original study sketch for the back cover of WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, drawn by Eric's mother, Karen Nelson, that sold for $356 and a hand-inked map of Greyhawk Castle that sold for $255. The highlight of the auction, however, was the Starstrands manuscript, a major planar module by Eric, Steve Marsh, and Gary Gygax. This module was to be published by TSR in the early 1980's but never came to fruition. The unfinished manuscript sold for an incredible $676!
Eric's Hand Inked Dungeon Level for Starstrands (1 of 9 maps; ms. 68 pages)
Kevin Hendryx: (1 auction, 218 items sold to date):
This was The Collector's Trove's biggest auction to date! In total the auction earned over $17,600! Kevin kept everything from his days as a designer at Metagaming (Fury of the Norsemen), to his time spent at TSR (Remember the Alamo), and his work at Coleco (Donkey Kong Junior). Highlights from the auction include: an original Erol Otus drawing for $353, the Cthulhu Chronicles, an ex-TSR employee newsletter for $503, the revised manuscript for L1 The Secret of Bone Hill for $345, a Grenadier TSR Lizardman Logo miniature for $523, and the original recalled orange B3 Palace of the Silver Princess printing negatives for the for a whopping $2,550!
The Original Print Negatives for the Recalled Orange B3 Palace of the Silver Princess
Dave "Zeb" Cook:
Dave Cook has given most of us our start with D&D or AD&D 2nd Edition. Dave was editor for the 1980 Expert Set along with Steve Marsh and was lead designer on the AD&D 2nd Edition rulebooks. His classic modules include A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity, X1 The Isle of Dread, and I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, to name a few. Dave's collection is also quite amazing. Highlight items include: a fantastic TSR calendar collection, TSR's employee newsletters, Random Events, an original sculpt of the aboleth bendy figure, TSR company signs, original artwork, shrinkwrapped modules, and more to come. Check here for updates!
Future auctions in The Collector's Trove Presents series include the Darlene collection, as well as additional auctions for David C. Sutherland III and Stephen R. Marsh.