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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

2020 September: 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 September. While the volume of Christie items sold continues to be high, the majority of trade continues to be reading quality paperbacks (mostly $3-5 US), Bantam leatherette books (often $10-15 US range for common titles), and other low priced items such as DVDs. A few unique items show up each month, including rarer first editions, signed copies, and film related collectibles. Below are a few highlights and oddities that should be of interest to the Christie collector. Each item shows the price realized and the currency based on where listed. Shipping costs are not included 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.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Collins Crime Club “Special Services” paperback edition (1946): 1st thus for the Services copy. Sold as a buy-it-now for £59.99. Sticker indicates it was surplus stock and thus appears never to have been distributed to the members of the “fighting forces of the allied nations”. CC comments: These “special services” paperbacks are quite scarce and thus are a wonderful addition to any paperback collection. There is something wonderful about the the fact that Christie books were being sent around the world to entertain our troops and bring them some moments of distraction and reading pleasure. I’m certain Christie would have loved this program.

The Folio Society – set of 8 books (2013-2014): Miss Marple Novels, including "The Murder at the Vicarage", "The Body in the Library", "A Pocket Full of Rye" and "Sleeping Murder"; Hercule Poirot Novels, including "The Mysterious Affair at Styles", "Murder on the Orient Express", "The ABC Murders" and "Death on the Nile". Sold as a Buy-it-now £525 UK. CC Comments: These are lovely books that we have profiled on our website in detail. Finding a fine set in original slipcases is getting surprisingly difficult. So these appear both well sold and well bought. I expect the buyer will have no regrets both as to value and pride of ownership.

Royal Mint £2 Silver Proof Piedfort Coin – Agatha Christie (2020): Sold as a buy-it-now for £165. This coin was limited to only 800 world-wide, making it exceptionally uncommon. Alloy: Inner: .925 Sterling Silver. Outer: .925 Sterling Silver plated with Fine Gold. Weight: 24g. CC Comments: An issue of only 800 coins is surprisingly small for ‘collector’ coins, and the ‘Piedfort’ versions are essentially double-weight, doubly-thick and pay homage to an ancient process from the 1100s in coin making where these were essentially advance proofs sent to regional engravers. For the Christie coin collector, this is one of the coins to find. By comparison the non-Piedfort version (edition size 2,250) typically sells for 1/3rd the price.

Murder on the Orient Express UK film poster (1974): Sold with 11 bids for £102. Poster is an original rolled / unfolded British One Sheet film poster measuring 27 x 40 inches and in excellent original condition. The poster comes from the StudioCanal archive as an all original unused item. CC comments: Unfolded and rolled posters from this era are incredibly uncommon. Given that a 1984 film post of Evil under the Sun sold for the same money but was not in as good condition, this was well bought. Another poster of similar quality may not show for years. Of note, StudioCanal acquired the assets and archives to many well known film distributors including Ealing Studios, Associated British Pathe, Associated British Picture Corporation, British Lion, Anglo EMI, Thorn EMI, EMI, Cannon and Lumiere to name a few. They are digitizing their archives and selling off inventory, which was the source of this poster.

The Big Four, Collins, London (1927): First edition, signed. No original dust jacket. Sold for $765 US with 1 bid. From the estate of Elizabeth Arden (1881 –1966), the cosmetics entrepreneur who, at the peak of her career, was one of the wealthiest women in the world. She had a sizeable collection of books many signed or inscribed by her literary friends from around the world. CC comments: Several books from this collection were sold this month for similar money. All came with facsimile dust jackets and appeared to have later signatures. While the world of Christie autographs is rife with forgeries, one hopes that Elizabeth Arden actually knew Christie rather than purchased these via a third party. As shown consistently this year, a signature with a hint of provenance generally adds £500 UK or $650 US to the value of the book. So, these were sold right on the money.

Ten Little N*****s, Fontana, UK (1970): Paperback book sold by auction for £102 with 18 bids. Many versions of this title in paperback sold in September and all versions are commanding a lot of money to acquire. CC comments: This is getting close to all time highs for the 1970 version with the Tom Adams’ cover art. However, September saw numerous versions of this unfortunate title sell for similar prices, including the earlier Pan edition and the Penguin white-stripe & white-circle versions. Clearly this book is in demand – excessively so. Rarely would I say there’s a bubble in pricing, but prices over £100 for this book are surprising to say the least. Definitely worth hunting for on used bookstore shelves.

Happy hunting!

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