This post is difficult to write, and perhaps I shouldn’t write it at all.

However, now that the site is changing, it is important to provide some background on the genesis of Rare Puzzles and a reference for the future.

The core and heart of Rare Puzzles is in this post.

In March of 2015, my brother Raúl was diagnosed with Klatskin tumor, a very uncommon type of cancer and extremely rare for patients in their 40’s. It was inoperable and incurable.

I was then working and living in Los Angeles, CA and decided to come back to Spain and be close to my brother for whatever time left he had. I quit my job, sold almost everything I owned, and took a flight back to Madrid.

I am sure that most of you have been touched by cancer one way or another. I have learned that cancer doesn’t leave any family untouched, so you probably know what it looks like. Raúl‘s cancer started to set our schedules, our routines, and our plans. Patients and caregivers.

I knew I wanted to be there 24/7. I didn’t want to have a job schedule. I wanted to be able to pick up my car keys at any moment and drive my mom to or from hospital, or go and pick up my niece and nephew from school and watch them until my sister-in-law came back home.

So, I thought I might start selling my own puzzle collection, some of them extremely rare, in order to make some income. It was not a difficult decision. Cancer gives a lot of perspective. Then, I realized that I could actually be able to pay my bills and work from home finding and selling rare puzzles, and I started the website at the end of 2015. It worked better than I had anticipated.

I was able to be very close to Raúl during his last year of life. I spent a lot of time with him, helping him with arrangements that he knew he had to do, assisting him in the completion of a book about motorcycles that he had written, and enjoying every single minute of the time with him, knowing very well that the days were counted.

Rare Puzzles was started only for that purpose, and it served the purpose well.

That is why I am so grateful to every single person that has bought a puzzle from me. They thought they were buying a puzzle, when in fact they were buying me time. Priceless time.

And that is why now that the website will open to other sellers, 100% of commissions charged for selling the puzzles on the website will be donated to the American Cancer Society and the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer. The only amount that will not be donated will be whatever is necessary to run the site, like web hosting, domain renewal, software improvements, etc.

That is also why I want Rare Puzzles to have an ethical dimension that goes beyond a simple selling website. Please, consider this before listing one of your puzzles on the site.

Life goes on, and I look forward to retaking some of the plans I had before cancer touched my life taking my brother’s.

Raúl passed away on May 26, 2016. He was a good and noble man.

Raúl Gallego, Sep. 24 1971 – May 26 2016

Previous Post Selling your Puzzles
Next Post Testing the New Website


  1. John Seebeck - 2017-01-09 01:43


    Thank you for sharing your personal story of how and why Rare Puzzles came into being. First and foremost, my sincerest condolences to you for the loss of your brother Raúl. Secondly, I respect and admire you for the changes that you were willing to make in your life and the things you were willing to forfeit in order to spend time with your brother and help your family through what I’m certain was a very difficult time. Not everybody is willing to do that, even under such circumstances.

    Sometimes good things come as a result of tragic events. I think that Rare Puzzles is a perfect example of this. Most importantly, because with commissions from other sellers now going to organizations that fight cancer, somewhere down the road, those funds may (and hopefully will) end up helping to save the life of somebody who is afflicted with the same disease that took the life of your brother. Less significantly, but certainly worth mentioning, is the fact that Rare Puzzles has been and still is a treasure trove of classic puzzles from the golden age of puzzling. While I can only speak for myself, I’m sure that there are many other puzzle enthusiasts who feel the same way.

    Finally, once again, I want to thank you for locating several rare and out-of-print puzzles that had long been on my wish list, and enabling me to obtain them. I wish you the greatest success with Rare Puzzles and in whatever other endeavors you undertake.


    John (a.k.a. “Passionate Puzzler”)

  2. Cathy - 2018-08-29 11:25


    Stumbling across this wonderful website for passionate puzzlers via Google whilst searching for interesting jigsaws, I was touched by your story and the great loss of your brother to cancer. It takes a special kind of person to give up all that they had and start again with an unknown future. Thank you for being brave and sharing such a life changing story. I am truly sorry for your loss.

    Similarly, I returned to the country of my birth to care for my aging mother in the winter of her life. Whilst here, my cousin was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and we almost lost her at Christmas. However, she pulled through, and three lots of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant later she is doing well to date.
    The support you offer cancer societies through Rare Puzzles is truly worthwhile.

    This is such a wonderful site and I hope that Rare Puzzles continues to grow and prosper to the delight of all who benefit from the joy of jigsaw puzzles.

    Best Wishes,

  3. Francesco - 2018-09-26 20:14

    A honest seller is much more rare than the rarest puzzle
    Thanks Jorge

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.