• David Morris

2020 March: 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 March. 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.

1959 UK Collins first: Cat Among The Pigeons. SIGNED. Overall near fine, with correct first edition jacket. £1,100 (UK) - Buy It Now. It's fair to say the highlight of the month for price on Ebay, with the signature causing a 12x multiple at least over what the book would usually sell for. I think it's safe to say signatures are worth £1,000 in older books, but surprising to see it gain this mark up for a 1959 book. That said, building a collection of signed books is an appealing venture for those with deeper pockets. Well sold and well bought.

1940 UK first edition, third printing: Hercule Poirot's Christmas. DEAL OF THE MONTH! Very good condition and includes dust jacket with identical cover art to the 1st printing. Sold for £60 (UK) - Buy It Now. A great example of a steal here. Seller should never have done a BIN but should have auctioned this. The jacket has already undoubtedly been married to a first printing, raising its value to £1,000 plus. Well bought and proves time spent on Ebay can occasionally pay off.

1928 USA Dodd Mead first edition: The Mystery of the Blue Train. No jacket, overall very good- condition. Sold for $156.75 (US), Buy It Now (closed on 1-April, though listed in March). A surprisingly strong price for a very common book that can even be found in the jacket for no more than double this price. General rule of thumb with early US first editions is that the book is worth 10-20% of the pairing of a jacket and a book. Since this book is easily found for $300 - $500 US in a jacket, the correct price is likely only $30 - $100 for the book only - so very well sold.

1950 UK Pan paperback: Ten Little Niggers. Overall very good condition for a paperback from this era. Sold for £35 (UK), Buy It Now. Strong money for this book, but generally all copies of paperbacks of this now unfortunate title seem to garner good prices, regardless of printing / edition. Reminds collectors there are bargains in used book stores to look for!

1927 (1926) 8th printing, USA Dodd Mead: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. In original Grosset & Dunlap dust jacket that had identical cover art to the correct US first edition. $40 (US) Buy It Now. A big mistake by the seller on this one - never should have done a BIN at $40. These reprints by G&D in original jackets are wonderfully affordable and a great way to acquire earlier period correct jackets as prices only 5-10% of a true first. A lot of upside potential for collectors of these G&D jacketed reprints. Likely fair value is closer to $100 US, and I would expect these to appreciate well in the years ahead.

1957 UK Collins first edition: 4:50 From Paddington. In original first edition, but price clipped, jacket. Very good condition. £80 (UK) - Buy It Now. Perhaps one of her more famous titles from the later novels. Books from the 50's were generally very affordable and common, but with this selling at this price point it raises the question as to whether the later books are starting to become fairly scarce in VG condition. This price implies a firming in this decade's prices, but collectors are still encouraged to seek out non-price-clipped jackets whenever possible if a 50s or later book as there are still plenty out there. This bodes well for all values of later firsts.

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