Now in the hands of an rpg auction house, an undoubtedly white-hot bidding war is about to commence--and thus my case of the sads. A golden opportunity to regain missing pieces of the early history of our hobby once again slips out of the public domain and eye and into the hands of private collectors.
Looking through the pictures over at the GeekDad exclusive, it's hard not to notice how great of a loss we are talking about. Just take a gander of the pictures of a spread of the Domesday Book, the near-lost newsletters of the medieval wargaming Castle and Crusade Society that D&D sprung Athena-like out of the head of. Pre-D&D details of Blackmoor are among some of things covered in the issues. And that leaves out all the unpublished manuscripts found in there.
This is not a rant against private collectors per se. I have known several collectors who have a profound love of the game and its history. Some like Harami who drop by to provide real insights into the grand experiments of that day. I sincerely hope that one such collector has an eye to sharing highlights and missing links with the rest of us “fever pitch” fans.
It's hard not to be with GeekDad in openly pining for a public archive to swoop in like this and help preserve it for the long haul.
Compare to what happened with the legacy of one of other hobby giants, M.A.R. Barker (who serendipitously is being mourned and celebrated as I type by our friends up in Minnesota). Again you had a giant collection of gaming history, but instead of auctioning it off, it was donated to the Tekumel Foundation (assisted by the Aethervox Gamers).
That collection is being carefully archived and restored with the ultimate eye of being accessible to lovers of that great world-building effort. It's not a theoretical push, we've already seen the re-release of the pre-TSR 1974 manuscript of Empire of the Petal Throne. Several more historical documents including the early-awaited Jakallan underworld are coming down the pipe.