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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

2020 June: 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 June. 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. There continues to be a particularly strong market for all first editions (both UK and US), less common versions of Murder on the Orient Express, and Mont Blanc Pens. However, as noted before eBay is a mixed bag for collectors, often littered with misinformation, uninformed sellers, lots of facsimile dust jackets 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.

British Quad Size Film Poster (1978). Original Death on the Nile poster for cinema display. Measuring the standard British quad size of approximately 40''x 30''. Sold as a Buy It Now for £69 UK. Film posters and lobby cards have a mixed market - some appear to sell for very low prices, some command a little more. Size and condition are very important, but so is the image and film. With the new version of Death on the Nile coming out later this year, and the ongoing appeal of this version, expect all things 'Nile' to continue to garner strong money in the years ahead. A recent survey of peoples favourite Christie novel put Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express neck and neck. However, most things 'Express' seem to cost double 'Nile' equivalents, potentially showing a lot of upside value.

Collins Crime Club, UK (1937). Death On The Nile. First Edition in very good condition. Published by Collins,Pall Mall,London. For The Crime Club. Sold as a Buy It Now for £430 UK. With this book costing 20-30 times as much if it were in a jacket, a very good hardback first only, with a facsimile jacket added, is one of the best ways to own this title for many collectors. In fact, all Collins firsts from 1945 and early in very good condition continue to be highly collectible even without jackets - but this title as mentioned earlier is gaining demand.

Dodd, Mead & Co, US (1942): The Moving Finger. First U.S. Edition, in publisher's red cloth blocked in black, fore-edge untrimmed, illustrated dust-wrapper by Koerner reflecting the price $2.00. Some very light toning to reverse side and the faintest of repair to extremities; Christie's third Miss Marple novel.Soldas a Buy It Now for £475 UK. It is getting more common to see US books being sold from UK dealers and resellers indicating a growing market for the US titles.

Royal Magazine (May to October 1928). Contains Agatha Christie's "The Thumb Mark of St Peter". Original pictorial cloth. Scarce first printing of the first edition of the 642 pages. 9.5 inches by 6.5 inches.. In 1932 Collins published the story in "The Thirteen Problems". Appears to be in very good condition. Many of these first Miss Marple stories were published in Royal Magazine, and as such are very collectible. Sold as a Buy It Now for £195 UK.

Folio Society (2014): Murder on the Orient Express. Sold out from the Folio Society and fairly hard to fine. This copy was sold absent its slipcase, but marketed as new. Sold as a Buy It Now for $79.99 US. The Folio editions are beautiful books and will likely continue to hold their value, if not increase in demand in the years ahead for people seeking to fill out their back catalogue. Why this one had already lost its slipcase was very odd.

Collins 9th Printing (1938): Murder on the Orient Express. One of the small sized '1d' format books published without endpapers or pre-title pages. The dust jacket art uses part of the art from the 1934 first edition, but is very different with its large green surround. Sold as a Buy It Now for $649 (US), which is a shockingly high price for this book. Is this really the market for this title or was someone impatiently trying to complete the set of 1d books? This is the sort of title a lucky used book store hunter might easily find for 1% of this price. Very well sold.

Original Signed and Annotated Letter (1971). Typed, signed and annotated letter. Signed as Mallowan and sent to a well-wisher is dated January 6, 1971. Christie was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1971 New Year's Honours; this letter appears to be to thank you to Michael Underwood, a fellow member of the Detection Club, who had written congratulating her on the achievement. She signed as her married name Mallowan, as she often did, possibly in this case in recognition of her new style of Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE. The letter appears in clean condition and undamaged. Sold as a Buy It Now for £495 UK. A COA was also included. Unique Christie letters, and this appearing to reference her New Year Honours and be to a Detection Club member, will always command solid pricing. Well bought and well sold. Note: the image protection added by the eBay seller is appropriate for listings as some sellers do take the image and reproduce the letter and sell copies inappropriately.

MontBlanc Writers Limited Edition Agatha Christie Ballpoint Pen. This writing instrument is new and factory tape sealed. The box has never been opened. Sold as a Buy It Now for $1,399 (US) affirming the strong prices these pens get, especially when in original condition. See our recent full article (click here) about the full range of Christie pens for more details. Every month multiple Christie MontBlanc pens sell, affirming a robust market. Anyone who bought plenty of these at the original price of $350 US is certainly happy today.

Dodd, Mead & Co, US (1946). Come, Tell Me How You Live, by Agatha Christie Mallowan. First US Edition, near fine in a very good jacket, correctly priced $3.00 but rubbed and chipped at the edges. This non-fiction book contains Christie's account of her expeditions to Syria with her archeologist husband, advertised on the jacket as an "amusing account of experiences which have contributed to the background of her Near East mysteries." Sold as a Buy It Now for $517.50 (US) continuing the trend of strengthening prices for all Christie's US books - even non-fiction.

As in prior months, a lot of eBay volume is driven by the following: Facsimile hardbacks by HarperCollins which continue to sell for $10-$20 US, while Bantam leatherette books are often $10-$15 for the common titles. Most paperbacks trade hands for $2 per item. However, there are a few very scarce and uncommon paperbacks out there that do gain higher prices. See prior eBay auction summaries for examples.

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