Our treasurer Michael Clapham remembers the sinking of the RMS Lusitania:
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Lusitania which was torpedoed 11 miles west of Ireland on 7th May 1915. The ship was apparently carrying many copies of Robert Braune, Apôtre de la Symétrie by Alain C White and published by Librairie De La Stratégie in Paris 1913. Robert McWilliam of the British Chess Problem Society claimed, in a letter to Bob Meadley, that 500 copies had been lost but this figure has been disputed by Meadley in his extremely interesting "A Letter to Bert" suggesting that the total print run would have only been about 300.
This has always been given as the explanation for the scarcity of this edition of the "Christmas Series", however, the ship was travelling from New York to London and quite why many copies of this book, which was presumably printed in France, were on board is a mystery to me.
The fact remains that "Robert Braune" is by far the rarest of the Christmas Series and a copy sold at the Klittich auction in June 2014 for 2,200 euros.