2020 October: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales.
Each month sales on eBay of Agatha Christie related items are reviewed. Below are a few highlights and recognized prices for items sold in October. This month’s most unusual sale was certainly the Smurfs, but the majority of items reviewed this month are books. As has become typical, most of Christie related items sold online are generally DVDs and paperbacks – both benefitting from their enduring appeal and perhaps the ongoing virus-related lockdowns. For every item we profile below, we show the price realized and the currency based on where it was listed. Shipping costs are not included when assessed. Verification of products or descriptions 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. Lastly, if anything appears incorrect in our descriptions do let us know.
Two Smurfs painted to represent Agatha Christie film characters from Murder at the Gallop. Sold for €106.89 (Euro) with 25 bids. Image at top of page. These Smurfs were repainted to portray Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford) and Mr. Stringer (Stringer Davis). CC Comments: We are ignorant as to whether Smurfs were actually made to represent these characters by the manufacturer, but expect these were custom made by a fan. Crazy money but when people are stuck at home and bored, they do funny things. Hopefully they bring great enjoyment to the new owner.
Murder at the Gallop Original UK Quad Film Poster (1963). Sold for £300 (UK) as a buy-it-now. This original UK Quad Film poster is in very good condition. Size: 30” x 40”. CC Comments: A less common image and very strong money. Film posters have a robust cadre of collectors. Condition, image design and image scarcity tend to be the primary drivers of value.
Murder on the Links, Bodley Head Ninepenny paperback (c. 1932). Sold for £216 (UK) with 17 bids. Some wear to paper covers. There is a rust stain on pages 112/3 that affects, to a lesser extent, the preceding and following pages. However, overall quite good and rare. CC Comments: Strong money for this uncommon paperback. Bodley Head had printing rights to Christie’s first books which were issued in both hardback and paperback. These paperbacks are an affordable collectible (relative to the first edition hardbacks) but are getting increasingly hard to find, especially in very good plus condition.
The Mystery of the Blue Train, Collins large 6d paperback (c.1930s). Sold for £195 (UK) with 19 bids. Some wear to paper covers with a crease and tear to back. However, contents clean and complete with tight binding suggesting it is unread. CC Comments: Another scarce paperback using similar cover art to the first edition hardback. All early paperbacks seem to be gaining in price and demand, but quality is so important.
Destination Unknown, Fontana paperback (c.1970). Sold for £20 (UK) as a buy-it-now. CC Comments: Since there was no 3/6 price imprint on the front this item was a 1969-71 printing. The 1967-68 version of this cover had the pricing. A very strong price for this book likely warranted by its apparent condition. This was the first of the two Tom Adams covers for this title though the later cover (with the toads) is less common. The day is nearing when paperbacks in fine condition with Adams covers will be very hard to find.
The Murder on the Links, Penguin No6 with dustjacket (1937). Sold for £95 (UK) with 1 bid. Published in 1937, this is the third Penguin paperback printing of this book. Slight browning round the edges. Dust Jacket quite good with 2 small tears at the top of the spine and a detached flyleaf. CC Comments: For the collector of early paperbacks, the dust jacket made this copy highly desirable. They are commonly lost or in very tatty shape. Well bought and likely offers a great long-term investment.
Original art by James Hammon “The Blue Geranium” (c. 1930s). Sold for $124.99 (US) Buy-it-now. Used with a US newspaper publication of the Miss Marple story. Illustrator James Hammon had a varied career- starting as an illustrator but also worked as an editorial cartoonist and ended up as an artist on Super Magician comics during the Golden age. Art is pen and ink 8" x 9" on a slightly taller board. Signed in the bottom corner. CC Comments: Any original art related to Christie publications will always be collectible and unique. While this image and artist are not as well known as others related to the world of Christie, this is well bought.
Sparkling Cyanide, Collins Crime Club (1945). Sold for $299.99 (US) with 1 bid. First Edition with the correct first state dust jacket (blank rear flap and 8s 6d net price on front flap). CC Comments: For many years Christie first editions from the 40s were very affordable and easy to find. This is no longer true and prices are growing rapidly for high quality copies. While this copy’s jacket had a few issues the price was fair and thus was well bought.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Collins Crime Club (1939). Sold for $850 (US) as a Buy it now. First edition. Dust jacket has some tearing and paper loss on the spine. The book has some minor damage to the spine. CC Comments: An affordable version of an increasingly expensive book. Sadly this book’s jacket has fairly uninspired cover art, but these larger Collins books from the 1930s are all highly collectible and will likely continue to gain in value. Potentially worth of minor restoration.
Murder in the Calais Coach, Dodd Mead (1934). Sold for $700 (US) as a buy-it-now. First US edition which unfortunately changed the title from the original UK edition. Dust jacket shows wear and has several issues. CC Comments: The USA first editions from the 1930s are still quite affordable, and when compared to UK first often a fraction of the price. The UK first of Murder on the Orient Express in jacket would likely sell for £24,000 (UK) / $30,000 (US) today, and when one appears for sale it is usually a private transaction. So for the collector of firsts, US copies still appear to offer great value. If this book and its jacket had been in very good plus condition, its value could have been triple this price realized.
David Suchet & Agatha Christie photographs and signatures. Sold for $249 (US) as a Buy-it-now. Stated to have been originally purchased many years ago from a sale of the well-known Los Angeles autograph dealer, Doris Harris. Frame is 18" x 14". CC Comments: David Suchet will always be adored by Christie fans for his portrayal of Poirot. Signed items by him are quite easy to find and signed cards by Christie are also fairly common, so find images you like. While future appreciation is unlikely to be much, the new owner will certainly enjoy having this to admire.
David Suchet signed photograph. Sold for $134.99 (US) as a Buy-it-now. Professionally printed 8x10 inch photo autographed at a reunion for the show in sharpie. The item comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. CC Comments: A lovely signed item and great photograph for fans of Suchet. While there is minimal potential appreciation, this item will certainly be enjoyed by the new owner.
Sleeping Murder, Easton Press (c. 2000s). Sold for $299.99 (US) as a buy-it-now. Collectors Edition with 22KT gold embossed leather cover, silk endpapers and satin ribbon. Still as new in shrink wrap. CC Comments: The print year of this copy is unknown though Easton Press did appear to publish it several times. Currently this edition is out of print. Easton Press books have some nice features, especially the 'Poirot Six' we've previously profiled (link). Many copies are unread and still shrink wrapped, but this price sets a new high for this book. Perhaps they are starting to get harder to find for those who collect them.