2020 July: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales.
Updated: Aug 15
Continuing our monthly series on eBay's Agatha Christie related "sales of interest", below are a few highlights and recognized prices for items sold in July. However, this month we’ve chosen to focus less on books and more on other Christie related items.
On the book front, there were no shocking sales but affirmation that quality commands substantially better pricing. As in prior months, well over 1,000 Christie related items changed hands on eBay, proving all items ‘Christie’ to continue to be part of a robust marketplace. What continues to surprise is how many sellers only use ‘Buy it now’ as opposed to an auction. Many collectible items are snapped up within a few hours of being listed implying there was much more upside for sellers. Prices reflected are for the item and do not reflect shipping costs when assessed. Being included in this monthly summary does not imply that the listing’s description was confirmed to be accurate or the authenticity of the item. As stated before, eBay can be a mixed bag of accurate and inaccurate descriptions, and great and lousy prices. That’s what makes the hunt on eBay so appealing.
Photograph: David Niven, Death on the Nile. Sold for £120 UK. Claimed by the seller to be a ‘stunning and very rare black and white original film still’. Size: 18cm x 23cm. Signed in blue ink. Purchased from Regis Autographs in England (although no image of this provenance). The back of the photograph has details of the film attached. A lot of photographs of Christie related items are selling monthly and thus the market appears robust.
Photograph: Francesca Annis in "Agatha Christie's Partner in Crime". Sold for $19.88 US. This is an original press photo from the USA PBS Mystery! Series ('Historical Images' overlay was a security watermark added to the listing only). Photo measures 8 x 10.25 inches. Photo is dated 5-29-1986. Of note, the photographer was Lord Snowdon. In addition to the wonderful image that epitomizes Christie's golden age glamour, the photographer makes the image particularly appealing.
Book: Labours of Hercules (1947). Sold for £750 UK. Collins Crime Club, first edition, signed, in tatty jacket. Signed items without provenance nor from established dealers are always to be bought as ‘caveat emptor’. Without the signature this book is worth a 1/10th of the price, and so the going premium of ~£600-700 for a non-association copy with just a signature (lacking provenance) has been quite consistent for a while. There are those out there who will assess boldness, fluidity and flourishes to pass judgement on authenticity should you want it so if you have any doubt when buying signed items seek a trusted advisor.
Accessory: 19th century ‘Medicine chest’: Originally sold at the ‘Greenway Sale’ in 2006. Sold for ‘best offer’ below $1,500 US listing. This mahogany or walnut chest had two bottles missing but did have the key and a bottom drawer with a hidden locking mechanism. For those unfamiliar with the Greenway Sale, it was a way for the National Trust to purge a huge amount of Christie’s items that she collected over the years. For anyone who has been to Greenway it may be hard to imagine they sold anything as the house still seems very full! That said, many of the items bought there keep showing up for resale though the pricing comparison generally implies that further value gains rarely occurred. Buy these sorts of items because you love them and want them – not for future appreciation potential.
Accessory: Glasses and papier mache glasses case: Also, from the Greenway sale. Sold by the same seller as the medicine chest. Sold for $550 US. Item still had the Bearne’s sticker tag on it.
Accessory: Souvenir coin tray from the Pera Palas hotel in Istanbul. Sold for $75 US (2 bids). Engraved / stamped with Pera Palas 1892 Agatha Christie 411. Potentially a silver item, it weighs 18 grams, and is about 3 inches round. Likely a touristy / souvenir item for the hotel where Christie was known to have stayed. While there’s a huge back-story to this (see our other posts), Christie didn’t ever stay in room 411, nor is it known with certainty that she wrote any (let alone all) of Murder on the Orient Express while at the hotel. It is known she loved the hotel and enjoyed staying there.
Film related: Death on the Nile (Mort sur le Nil): French lobby card from 1978 film. Sold for €25 (Euro). Size 22cm x 28 cm. A large collection of these lobby cards sold – all for the same price. It is uncommon to see these from a foreign distribution and some of the images in the collection were quite appealing.
Film related: Muerte au Galop (Murder at the Gallop) film poster: Another unusual French item – a large original french movie poster. Sold for $149 US. This was a large size poster, measuring 63"x47". The poster had been folded into a smaller square so heavily creased. An uncommon image and a strong price.
TV related: Signed ‘stationary’ prop item. Sold for £76 (16 bids). This ‘Hercule Poirot letterhead’ was created for use in the classic detective series Poirot! for placement on his desk at Whitehaven mansions. This sheet is signed by David Suchet and comes with a COA (though created by the seller!).
Figurines: Hercule Poirot, Captain Hastings, Inspector Japp & Miss Lemon (2.5" tall). Sold for £27.99 UK for the set. These are hand-made (presumably by the seller) and are made to order. But for the Christie fan who thought they had everything, there’s always something else out there to find. Certainly not collectible from a value perspective, but they are rather charming and thus included in this month's review to put a smile on your face!
Ephemera: Agatha Christie Magazine Collection: This set of magazines appeared complete with 6 binders, the original advertising and all the newsletters from Planet 3 publishing. Sold for £48 UK. Stated to be in pristine condition. This is a lovely set and appears to be very well bought. Any fan of Christie would enjoy reading through this set.
Comments are always welcome on any of the items we profile or anything you think we should have!