• David Morris

2021 August: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales.

Agatha Christie collectors continued to find wonderful items to add to their collections in August. Below is a sampling of items sold from around the world, including a couple of rather unique items! For every item we profile below, we show the price realized as stated by eBay and the currency based on where it was listed. Generally, to convert, £1 UK = €1.15 = $1.40 US = $1.90 AUST. 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, especially signed items. Each item cited below begins with the seller’s description followed by our comments.


Montblanc Pens:

Writer’s Edition Agatha Christie Vermeil Fountain Pen, Montblanc: (1993). Sold for €1,800 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Montblanc Agatha Christie VERMEIL Fountain Pen Limited Edition 4810. Number pen 2974/4810. Nib size B. The fountain pen is brand new with original box and warranty. CC Comments: The vermeil (gold plated silver) is the one to collect given its limited production run compared to the standard fountain pen. Our article from May 2020 had the fair value for this pen at £2,000 UK / $2,500 US, so the price realized here reaffirms why sellers sometimes leave value on the table by using Buy It Now. A beautiful pen. Well bought.


A Sampling of Notable Book Sales:

The Sittaford Mystery, Collins, UK (1933). Sold at auction for £343 with 10 bids. Seller Comments: 1/- edition, 5th impression, original blue hardcover cloth with gold lettering to the spine and lower cover. Firm with a few small dings to the edges, the cloth is very fresh and clean, bookplate, pos, some faint foxing spots, original dustjacket with a few small creases and little nicks. CC Comments: These early Collins reprints are getting much harder to find especially in a jacket of near fine condition as this was. Given that very good copies sell for this price, this is well bought. Consider prices of these books to continue to appreciate as they offer a relatively affordable way to acquire early jacketed printings.


Death on the Nile, Dodd Mead & Co, New York, USA (1938). Sold for a negotiated price – listed for $3,500 US. Assume 10-20% reduction, so likely sold for ~$3,000 US. Seller Comments: Unclipped 1st state DJ, shelf-wear present to the DJ extremities, flaps are foxed. Boards have light shelf-wear present to the extremities. CC Comments: There have been a few sales of the first Dodd printing of this title in various conditions over the last few years. In September 2019, a fine copy sold at auction for $4,000; in May 2020 a near-fine jacketed copy sold for $2,136 US with 21 bids, and in August 2020 a very good book with a good-plus only jacket sold for $1,100 as a Buy it Now. The copy sold on eBay this month had a very-good-minus jacket. Assuming our estimate on price sold is accurate, it shows continued strength in the value. Being one of her most famous novels and the upcoming film release certainly support this price. A nice addition to any collection.


Five Little Pigs, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1942). Sold for £510.10 at auction with 20 bids. Seller Comments: First Edition, binding and spine secure, slight fading at top of spine where dust cover is damaged. POI. CC Comments: The book was very good, but the jacket had some flaws, such as chips, tears and wear. The early 1940 Collins Christies bridge the gap between affordable books of the late 40s and 50s and the mostly unaffordable books from the 1930s. A fine copy would be worth quadruple this price so these good to very good copies are an affordable entry point. The buyer of this copy will face a dilemma as to whether to restore the jacket or keep it original. Collectors still seeking books from this period should buy soon as prices are likely to continue appreciating and they are starting to get quite scarce.


Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Collins Crime Club, Services Edition, London, UK (1946). Sold for £75 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Paperback services edition, with shelf wear and tanned pages. CC Comments: These “Services Editions” are incredibly collectible. A total of 8 Christies were published between 1943 and 1946. They were Sad Cypress, The Moving Finger, The Body in the Library, N or M?, Toward Zero, Five Little Pigs, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and Absent in the Spring (as Westmacott). Of these the last two are the easiest to find as the surplus stock was sold by W.H. Smith Another copy of this title sold last September for £59.99. The first five listed above were also first printings in paperback and so will naturally command higher prices as multiple collections seek them.


Murder Is Easy, Penguin, London, UK (1957). Sold for £39.99 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Scarce, original first edition with cover design by Stanley Godsell. CC Comments: This is one of the highly collectible “Games” covers. Competition from other publishers was in full swing by the 1950s and Allen Lane experimented in 1957 with full-colour covers to see how it impacted sales. Lane awarded the project to designer and illustrator Abram Games who redesigned the cover format. While most of the illustrations were by Games, nine other illustrators were commissioned during the series (including Stanley Godsell who illustrated this cover). Fewer than 30 covers appeared before Allen Lane decided to stop the experiment and cease production of these covers. The increasing cost of full colour printing was not being offset by any uptick in sales. Consequently, this is an exceptionally rare book to find. Certainly snapped up at this price. Very well bought.


The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, Collins Uncorrected Advance Proof, UK (1960). Sold for $399.99 at auction with 1 bid. Seller Comments: a couple of creased creased page corners, faint vertical spine creasing, stray white mark at bottom right otherwise. CC Comments: There will always be a market for these advance copies that were sent out to book reviewers. While not as rare as true proof copies that went between editors, publishers and authors, often with notations, advance copies are still fun to collect. Prices for those from the 1960s and 1970s have generally been quite stable and affordable. This was well sold but may reflect where the market is moving on these.


Ten Little Niggers, Horwitz Publications, Australia (1961). Sold for $54 AUST at auction with 5 bids. Seller Comments: Light wear to the cover and a small imprint where something was resting. Inside is bright and clean. CC Comments: This Sydney, Australia-based publisher generally had much smaller print runs than US and UK paperback companies. Since there are many collectors who seek different versions of Christie titles, especially her most famous books, this version is very collectible and quite uncommon. Well bought.


The Harlequin Tea Set, Literary Express (Bantam), USA (1998). Sold for $129.95 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: As New, Never fully opened. CC Comments: While most Bantam leatherette books are cheap and common, they are generally the books that were printed between 1982-1988. However, new titles were published each year all the way through 2000. After 1988 many people had stopped collecting them making these later books much scarcer. Other printing issues result in scarcity such as the printing of some novels separately under the UK and US titles. However, The Harlequin Tea Set is particularly unique because Literary Express accidentally used the same ISBN number for this book as the previously printed Evil Under the Sun. Consequently, it is assumed they shut down printing of this title making it the rarest of the Bantam books. Since other rare Bantams have sold for up to $500, this has to be viewed as exceptionally well bought. Another example of a seller who should have used the auction format!


Complete Agatha Christie Facsimile Collection, Books & Magazines, HarperCollins, UK (2012-2014). Sold for £1,100 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Total of 85 books and corresponding magazines. All but 5 books are in original shrink but have all been opened. First two copies are still sealed and have original cards but have become unglued over time. Magazines are ok condition as seen in photos, books are like new. CC Comments: Basically about £13 per book & magazine, which is a very fair price. Sets the market price, though perhaps a little under since not auctioned.



The Folio Society: Sample of August Sales.

The Murder on the Orient Express, Folio Society, London, UK (2014). Seller Comments: Sealed in original shrink wrap. Sold for $249.99 at auction with 1 bid.

Murder on the Orient Express, The Folio Society, UK (2014). Sold for £325 as a Buy it Now. Seller Comments: Brand new, still sealed in original shrink wrapping.

And Then There Were None, The Folio Society, UK (2017). Sold for £325 as a But it Now. Seller Comments: Brand new, still sealed in original shrink wrapping.

Hercule Poirot Box set – four volumes, Folio Society, London, UK (2014). Sold for $725 at auction with 22 bids. Seller Comments: Includes The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Orient Express, The ABC Murders, Death on the Nile. Books have been read.

CC Comments: Demand for The Folio Society editions continues to be strong. They are beautiful books, and aside from a few volumes, most command very strong prices, especially those with artwork by Andrew Davidson. The sale of And Then There Were None with art by David Lupton is a new high. For images on all these titles and a detailed article about collecting them, click here.

Fun Items & Oddities of the month:

Agatha Christie Books Poirot Miss Marple Charm Bracelet, Hand Crafted, USA (2021?). Sold for $32.99 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Lovely handcrafted Agatha Christie theme charm bracelet. Each photo framed charm Is laser-printed, sealed with clear waterproof resin. CC Comments: Perfect for an attendee to the now happening International Agatha Christie Festival.


Harmony Ball Historical Pot Belly Retired Agatha Christie, Glos, UK (2008). Sold for $374.99 as a Buy it Now. Seller Comments: Very rare. Includes box and card. Very small chip on left collar, hardly noticeable. CC Comments: The secret compartment is a nice touch, but given that when these were first sold they retailed for ~£10 / $15 this has performed better than Bitcoin. Someone clearly wanted this.


Summary:

Hopefully this month’s selection of items has informed and entertained. As is always the case eBay offer Christie collectors opportunities and pitfalls. Do your due diligence, but ultimately buy what you love and makes you happy.


Happy hunting!


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