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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

2020 August: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales

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 August. This month we’ve brought the focus back primarily to books, but have also included a few oddities too. Throughout the global virus-related shut-down there have been no significant Christie items at the major book auction firms, but eBay continues to have a robust Christie-related marketplace. Each month we have seen well over 1,000 Christie related items changed hands on eBay, proving all items ‘Christie’ to continue to be part of a robust marketplace. Each month many items are snapped up quickly with ‘Buy It Now’, likely leading to lost value for the seller, but providing great potential for the frequent eBay visitor. Much of what is listed is clearly overpriced or of no collectible value but keeps getting relisted. So separating the wheat from the chaff is a constant need for the hunter of that special item.

Death on the Nile: Dodd Mead (1938). USA First edition. The cloth bound book is in VG- condition. There is some wear to the extremities, slight wrinkling to the spine, and some fading to the dark blue topstain. The unclipped dust jacket retains its original “$2.00” front flap price. The G+ jacket shows wear, particularly to the extremities and flap folds, as well as some loss to the head of the spine affecting “AG” in the author’s printed name, plus a faded spine. Sold as a Buy-it-now $1,100. CC Comments: Another example of (a) why sellers should not use buy-it-now, and (b) why pristine jackets command premium values as a sale of this book in May 2020, in a near fine jacket garnered 21 bids and $2,136 US. In all likelihood this book is well bought though buyers must know that moving from a G+ to a VG+ jacket can double the money.

Montblanc Agatha Christie Fountain Pen Limited Edition: Year 1993, Nib size F, Number pen 23036/30000, The pen is used but same new but comes complete with all original documents, box and warranty. Sold as a Buy-it-now for €1,400 EU. CC Comments: The Christie Montblanc fountain pen, roller ball pen and pencil continue to be highly collectible and command strong prices. If you are considering buying any of these consider reading our full article on these items first by clicking here.

The Labours of Hercules: Collins Crime Club (1947). First edition (UK), in unclipped first edition dust jacket. Signed by Agatha Christie directly onto the title page. No inscriptions, tears or foxing. The jacket has chipping along the top and bottom of the spine and corner edges with small piece of clear tape at the bottom of the verso. Shows a price of 8s 6d net on the front flap. Sold as a Buy-it-now £500 UK. CC Comments: The signature is bold and without detailed inspection appears authentic. The book itself is worth about £100 UK at best, leaving the signature with a value of £400 UK, which is about 20-30% below prior signed copies, so well bought and affirming it should have been auctioned. Association copies or meaningful inscriptions will always add greater value.

Ten Little N__s: Penguin "white stripe" paperback (1960), UK. In VG condition. Sold by auction with 20 bids for $109 US. CC Comments: There continues to be an unusual demand for this book – in fact any paperback with this unfortunate title. This sale realized very strong money, but with 20 bids shows its not a fluke. However, in terms of rarity the Pan edition (see below) is far rarer but sold for similar money. So I lean towards this being well sold and top of the current market.

Ten Little N__s: Pan paperback (1947), US. In VG condition. Sold by auction with 10 bids for £77. CC Comments: This is a very rare book, that for some reason had its auction cancelled and then was redone later, perhaps due to eBay censoring the title which is regrettable. For a full background on why this is so rare, read our article about the first five Pan paperbacks by clicking here. This was the first Christie printed by Pan, which was competing against Penguin, and the first Christie paperback to have art on the cover. Well bought.

Set of 5 US Pocket Books with art by Tom Adams: Included: The Body in the Library (1971), Nemesis (1973), The Mirror Crack'd (1972), By the Pricking of my Thumbs (1974), and Passenger to Frankfurt (1972). Sold as a Buy It Now for $29 US. CC Comments: While none of these are the rarer US Tom Adams paperback books, this set was five nice copies, four of which have his wraparound artwork for which his US covers are unique. While his artwork is better known on the UK Fontana books, the US books have much more narrative in the artwork. For a full story of Tom Adams’ US covers click here.

Death on the Nile “publicity book”: (1978), EMI UK. Approximately 30cm x 35cm in size, this promotional publicity book has 16 pages. It was presented as in good original condition and from the StudioCanal archive. Sold at auction with 9 bids for £207 UK. CC Comments: This film is one of the favourites of many Christie fans and unique memorabilia related to this film will always be appealing. This is a very rare item, especially in this condition, and likely could have garnered even more money if the listing had made it clear it was a book by showing more photos. Most will have assumed it was just a poster when scrolling through images.

Production Film Script: Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express: by Paul Dehn. 2nd Draft Production Script , By G.W Films Ltd, 41, Montpelier Walk, London. Consists of 144 pages in addition to a cover page and character list . From the estate of John Moffatt, Chief attendant on the film. Annotations of cast on the List of Characters page. Sold for ‘best offer’ from asking price of £450. CC Comments: Film scripts are quite common as many were printed and they often show up for sale. The provenance and period notations really made this one special. A one off item.

2020 Agatha Christie £2 Two Pounds Coin: Celebrating "100 Years Of Mystery", issued by the UK Royal Mint in an edition of 7000. Sold as a Buy-it-now for £24.99. CC Comments: While there are no shortage of these coins in the marketplace, this sold for the highest price in August because the listing showed original Royal Mint paperwork that would come with it, but also showed many up close high quality photographs affirming its ‘BUNC’ quality (brilliant, uncirculated coins, made to a proof standard). I doubt there’s much upside in these coins in the near term as new issue coins are still working to find their final homes, but what fun!

Joan Hickson signed photo: Size 4” x 6”. Signed boldly with comment. Sold at auction with 12 bids for £35. CC Comments: Similar photos show up for sale with consistent inscriptions, so clearly many were signed like this. Often higher prices are asked when listed as a Buy It Now, so with many bids this likely sets the market for Joan Hickson signed photos. Certainly a wonderful actress and beloved by many.

Miss Marple Agatha Christie Wool Button Up sweater: Iceberg, Italy, circa 1990s. Vintage, wool, EU size 42. Very good pre-owned condition. Sold as a Buy It Now for $125 US. CC Comments: Iceberg made a variety of Agatha Christie themed sweaters in the 1980s-1990s. They often show up for sale and while quite fun, there are limited places people will likely wear them, though surely at the next in-person International Agatha Christie Festival they would be popular.

Each item selected above shows the price and currency based on where listed, and does not reflect shipping costs when assessed. Signatures and edition verification are not done by Collecting Christie but are taken at face value. Buyers should always seek provenance or greater detail as needed when considering any high priced item.

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