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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

2020 April: Highlights of Agatha Christie Ebay sales

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

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 April. In general, Ebay is a mixed bag for collectors, often littered with misinformation, uninformed sellers and poor condition items. Occasionally real gems do show up so its often worth a periodic review of offered items. Prices shown reflect the currency used for the listing.

Set of three Collins (UK) first editions: 1926 Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 1936 Murder in Mesopotamia, an 1939 Ten Little Niggers. All hardback firsts without jackets. Some wear, paper spotting etc.. but generally all three were very good condition. Sold for £1,250 (UK) from a 'Buy It Now' listing on 13-April-2020. This is about spot on price wise for these three books in an Ebay setting, though dealers may inflate their prices when separated. It affirms there is a market for jacketless books from the 1920s and 30s as the jacketed copies are now only for the very deep-pocketed. These three books in very good jackets would likely have a retail price of £40,000 for Ackroyd, £20,000 for Mesopotamia and £5,000 for Ten Little, thus jacket-free copies are a lot more affordable.

1933 USA Dodd Mead first edition: Thirteen at Dinner (UK title: Lord Edgware Dies). With original jacket, not price clipped, overall very good condition. Sold for $850 (US) on 22-April-20 from a "Buy It Now" listing. An attractive copy, but listed incorrectly with 1930 in title. A very fair price for the buyer and likely a little under market value assuming it is in as good a condition as it appeared. Well bought. USA Dodd Mead firsts from the 1930s still offer tremendously good value and will likely appreciate well in the years ahead.

1942 Collins Crime Club first edition: Five Little Pigs. Signed and dated "Agatha Christie 1942" in faded ink. Book only in good only condition - no jacket. Sold for a "best offer" reduction from a £595 (UK) requested 'Buy It Now' price on 14-April-2020. No provenance provided. Assuming £500 (UK) was likely accepted price this is in alignment with what an authentic signature goes for but generally desired on a better quality book. See comment at bottom of article re: signatures.

[1937] UK Esperanto first edition thus: Murdo en la Orienta Ekspreso (English title: Murder on the Orient Express). Good only condition paperback. Sold for £30 (UK) on 14-April-2020. A read "oddity" as this is a Christie paperback published in 'Esperanto' in the UK - which was a language created in 1887 by a Polish ophthalmologist with the goal of creating a new universal language the world could adopt. It continues today, but finding a Christie book published in it likely in 1937 is most unusual. Unclear if the collector is a fan of Christie oddities or anything Esperanto - as I doubt their worlds intersect.

1952 USA Dodd Mead first edition: Mrs McGinty's Dead. With original jacket, but sadly price clipped. Overall near fine copy. Sold for $89.99 (US) on 16-April-20 from a "Buy It Now" listing. This is a fairly uncommon book for US collectors as most of the later reprints used the title Blood Will Tell. Also, Dodd changed their printing format after this book, with taller thinner books and less interesting cover art. Well bought and well sold - a market correct full price at this time but one of those books that will likely appreciate well in years ahead.

2019 UK Folio Society: The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd with introduction by Sophie Hannah and illustrated by Andrew Davidson. Condition of book & slipcase like new. Sold for $39.95 from a 'Buy It Now' listing on 7-April-2020. These Folio books are quite beautiful and currently affordable. A very nice addition to the shelf of any Christie collector. Andrew Davidson is an excellent artist too.

Also during the month there were multiple sets of the Bantam leatherette editions, most selling for ~$500 for sets of 60 or so books.

Penguin "white stripe" paperbacks from the 1950s continued to sell, with many changing hands during April for ~£20 (UK) each, and mostly listed as first printings thus.

Throughout this summary, no judgment is made as to the accuracy of the listings or whether books were correct first editions or authentically signed.

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