Like an episode of Storage Wars, the game collection of Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, was recently salvaged from an abandoned storage locker and is now being put up for auction. I’m flabbergasted!
According to an announcement by The Collector’s Trove, an online auction service for game designers, here’s what happened… The Collector’s Trove had spoken to Mr. Arneson prior to his death about selling his collection. Before the deal could be finalized, however, Mr. Arneson revealed that he would be leaving his collection to his heirs. Unfortunately, they seem to have been unwilling or unable to care for it. The collection was placed in a storage facility and when the rent was not paid, it was put up for auction, as is the practice in such businesses. (Keep in mind that the collection includes not only Mr. Arneson’s games, but also his game design notes and documents from his days in the industry.) The company that won the bid contacted The Dragon’s Trove, an online retailer with a history of dealing in collectible RPGs. The Dragon’s Trove then contacted The Collector’s Trove. The two agreed to partner and, after evaluating the materials, made an offer. The offer was accepted and 114 boxes with 10,000+ individual items were loaded in to a van to be driven from Minnesota to Nebraska.
Now The Collector’s Trove and The Dragon’s Trove are working together to
…preserve the intellectual property of the collection while trying to carry out Dave’s wishes to have a portion of its value go to his heirs. Through a combined effort of scanning, documentation, and auctions it is hoped that we may achieve both goals. In the process Dave’s fans and collectors alike will have the opportunity to support this effort and have a chance to own a piece of gaming history. Likewise, the gaming community may yet get a chance to see Dave’s unpublished game designs come to fruition.
The first eBay auctions of selected materials are scheduled to launch Sunday evening, May 6th. These will feature rare wargames, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Blackmoor, and Empire of the Petal Throne. Some of the items are autographed.
Good. Open source the founders. Next up? A Gygax/Arneson A.I.