23 May 2016

The Jim Roslof Auction

Yesterday I took part in an interesting eBay auction organised by our friends over at The Collector's Trove, that of the late Jim Roslof's personal collection of sketches, studies, illustrations and other fine art collectables which he produced over a prolific 30 year-span, including for TSR (Tactical Studies Rules), the legendary Lake Geneva, Wisconsin-based company that unleashed fantasy role-playing game and brought us Dungeons & Dragons. Jim Roslof (1946-2011) was TSR talented Art Director, and headed a team of 12 accomplished artists who together lent TSR products their strong visual identity, and in doing so, influenced fantasy art at large to leave a lasting and distinctive all-encompassing legacy that includes calligraphy, illumination, engraving and cinematic images - a legacy which is still relevant today.

In the light of this, needless to say that the auction was a call to action for hardcore fans of D&D, strategy and war games, and for fantasy art collectors alike and Roslof aficionados. Jim's wife, Laura Roslof, an artist herself and a former TSR employee, made this possible by partnering with The Collector's Trove for the auctioning of Jim's treasures. Each numbered lot comes with its own unique Certificate of Authenticity signed by the lady herself.

As an aside, forgive me for quoting a 'cracking' anecdote relayed by The Collector's Trove in their auction listings:

'Laura, during her tenure, (...) was so successful with catalogs, reaching out to military organizations, service member periodicals, and military base exchanges that she turned the operation from a money-losing endeavor into a profitable one. As a result, the company's chief executive, Brian Blume, promptly fired her. He explained that the catalog operation was supposed to be a money-losing department for the tax write-off! He then re-assigned her to the Pre-Press Department where they did want to be profitable.'

I placed a number of (frantic!) bids on three separate items, including the Hippogriff (pictured above) and the figures kept creeping up. I soldiered on in the auction fever, placed a maximum bid but got outbid both financially and by the 7-hour time difference. The Hippogriff eventually sold off for $214.50. I am a little despondent because my fondness for the creature had increased more fondly along the way and I did covet that piece of art but that's the way it goes. All the best to Griff in his new life, and I am certain he will be lovingly looked after.

Source: All photography via The Collector's Trove. (1) TSR AD&D Monster Cards Hippogriff Original Study Colored Ink on Parchment, 1982, Unsigned Jim Roslof and TSR AD&D Monster Cards Hippogriff Original Study Ink on Parchment, 1982, Unsigned Jim Roslof. This is Jim's initial work on his Hippogriff Monster Card art. Auctioned off for $214.50. (Photography lightened up by Mirabelle). (2) The cherry on the auction's cake was the TSR D&D Module X1 Isle of Dread Back Cover Art, Unused Original Final Paint on Illustration Board, Unsigned 1985 Jim Roslof. Auctioned off for $3,828.00. Another covet of mine and a testament to classic fantasy art mastery, but sadly way out of my bidding league!


  1. Indeed, I didn't win anything either, Nathalie ;D


  2. All is not lost because we'll still be able to pull out all the stops on the next Roslof auction! ;D The bidding "war" was quite fierce though. I even lost out on the Hobby Shop envelope I was confidently bidding on... Anyhoo, we'll do better next time. Thanks for visiting my blog, Allan! All the best :-)


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