• David Morris

2021 October: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales

“Collecting things is a great bond, isn’t it?”

– Agatha Christie, 18 September 1967.


For October’s review of worldwide eBay sales of Agatha Christie related items, we’ve decided to only show items that we’ve never profiled before and items that are generally at the lower end of the collector world price range. While there continued to be robust sales in first edition Collins Crime Club books, Montblanc pens, and Folio Society printings (all higher priced items) we aren’t profiling any of them in this review. Hopefully this fresher selection sheds some light on a few of the more affordable areas of collecting.


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.


Murder in Mesopotamia, Penguin, London, UK (1957).

Sold for £49.99 UK. Seller Comments: This edition printed in 1957 as part of the Abram Games cover series with striking illustration by Stanley Godsell. A very good square copy with single issue being that it has sellotape on spine and minor sticker loss/residue on front panel bottom edge. Still, a rare delight with crisp and clean interior with no inscriptions, folds, tears or missing pages and at a reduced sale price! Firm binding. CC Comments: The same seller also sold a copy of Godsell’s Murder is Easy for the same price – a book we’ve profiled before. This one is equally collectible as these Games covers were a short-lived experiment that unfortunately didn’t continue. In fact, Penguin only published 33 books with these ‘Games’ covers over a 10 month period. Games designed 7 of the covers while other artists, such as Godsell, were commissioned to the do the other covers. Only two Agatha Christie books were published as part of this ‘test’. Consequently, these two books are some of the more collectible Christie paperbacks. For those interested in learning more about the Games covers, which included artwork by Stanley Godsell, there is a great book written by Games’s daughter, Naomi Games, titled “Abram Games and Penguin Books”.


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Collins, London, UK (1934).

Sold for £64.99 UK. Seller Comments: 13th impression. Boards have light wear with some scuffs to spine ends and sun fading marks. DJ is a little worn with tears and loss at spine ends. Main content clean with spotting to page ends and some marks to first/last page. Endpapers appear to have been removed. CC Comments: These early reprints, whether the very early 1/- or the later 7d editions, are all highly collectible when the original cover art is still present. A highly affordable collectible and great fun to seek out.


Set of 12 Arabic language Agatha Christie paperbacks, Cairo, Egypt (1980s).

Sold for $85 US (from Cairo). Seller Comments: Very Good with no text marking. Yellowing. CC Comments: Hopefully one of our readers can translate all the covers for us! Foreign language books are great fun to collect if solely for the cover art. It is always interesting to see how different titles are portrayed through the graphic design. Some of these images appear to have been influenced by the Italian covers.


Typed letter with signed card enclosed (1971).

Sold for negotiated price under €199 EU. Seller Comments: 10.5x6.5cm, very good condition. CC Comments: Of note, D. (Daphne) Honeybone was Agatha's private secretary for many years and continued being so for Max Mallowan after Christie's death. She was also the dedicatee for ‘Nemesis’. Agatha Christie’s signature has the correct norms and attributes, and under our grading system would be considered a B-grade. Combined with the letter, this was very well bought.


Murder Ahoy! Poster photos KV_2 with Margaret Rutherford, (1964).

Sold from Germany by auction for €251.99 EU with 23 bids. See comments below the next item.


Murder Ahoy! Poster photos KV_3 with Margaret Rutherford, (1964).

Sold from Germany by auction for €221.99 EU with 20 bids.

Seller Comments for both items: 6 original poster photos (each) of the 1964 premiere by MGM. Image size 29x23 cm. The pictures have some needle punctures and the usual signs of use. Otherwise well preserved. CC Comments: There is a very loyal base of Rutherford fans and the prices realized for these two lots confirm the demand is there too. Lovely additions to a collector of Christie film memorabilia or a fan of Rutherford's.


Unfinished Portrait, Doubleday Doran, New York, US (1934).

Sold for negotiated price under $475 US. Seller Comments: 1st US edition. Book is good condition with clean pages and boards and only slightest of soiling to page edges. Dust jacket is a bit off center and has light fading to spine, 1" closed tear and creases to front panel, and some soiling to panels and chipping to edges. CC Comments: One of the rare cases where the same cover art was used for both a UK and US printing of a Christie penned novel. There are only a couple of other cases where this happened. Can our readers name them? Mary Westmacott novels continue to offer tremendous value compared to contemporaneous mystery novels.


Poirot Cast Signed 8x10 Photo (UK).

Sold for £75 UK. Seller Comments: Signed by David Suchet, Pauline Moran, Hugh Frazer & Philip Jackson. Genuine hand signed. CC Comments: David Suchet has a very large following and fan base as his current tour of the UK to support small theatres is proving. For a fan of the Poirot series starring this actors a lovely collectible.


Set of 4 Pan Paperbacks, UK (1969-1971).

Sold for $40 AUST. Seller Comments: All books in fair and readable condition. Hercules Poirot’s Christmas: Fair. Dumb Witness: Fair. Parker Pyne Investigates: Fair. The Labour’s of Hercules. Wear and tear. CC Comments: These Pan paperbacks are often forgotten by collectors, but many of them had rather interesting covers. What seems like perpetual lockdown in Australia may be impacting pricing there as this is fairly strong money for 4 common and heavily used paperbacks. That said, these Pan paperbacks are often ignored, but are great fun to collect as their photographic art design was quite fresh in its day.


Summary:

Hopefully the selection of items from October has been of interest. As is always the case eBay offer Christie collectors a range of collectibles – many of them highly affordable. Buy what you love and makes you happy.


Happy hunting!


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