• David Morris

2021 September: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales

Each month we review eBay sales from around the world that would interest Agatha Christie collectors. We aim to provide both mainstream items as well as a few that are a little different from those we usually profile. September 2021 offered many interesting items - several of which are reviewed below in greater detail. This should help clarify current market values as well as provide more awareness of the breadth and range of collectibles sold each month. In general, there continues to be high volume in paperback reading editions & DVDs, while Folio Edition books maintain their appeal. First edition printings in jacket and very good condition continue to see growing values. Other collectibles, such as Montblanc pens, signed items and film memorabilia all continue to have an active collector base.


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.


A Selection of Book Sales:


The Labours of Hercules, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1947).

Sold for £149.99. Seller Comments: First edition, inscription (from 1998) on the front endpaper with some pencil writing. A little fading to cloth at edges. Page edges a little dusty. Near VG. Dust-jacket: some edge wear including chipping and fraying. Stain to rear panel. Priced at 8s 6d Net on front flap. CC Comments: The late 1940s books still can be found offering good value to collectors. Near fine copies are getting very scarce and so demand for slightly lesser quality books is growing. Also driving appeal for firsts from these years is that they were among the last dust jackets to be fully illustrated.



The Tuesday Club Murders, Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, US (Feb 1933).

Sold for £156.88 UK at auction with 12 bids. Seller Comments: First U.S. Edition, Facsimile Dust Jacket. The book is in very good condition with slight rubbing to extremities, occasional slight foxing, a slightly darkened spine and previous owners name & address. CC Comments: This is an uncommon book to find in this condition. Dodd Mead only had a single print run and then immediately handed off the reprint rights to Grosset & Dunlap, who published the second edition in March 1933. This implies a very small original print run by Dodd Mead. Consequently, an original dust jacket is incredibly scarce. Note: Original UK title: The Thirteen Problems.


Set of 40 books (78 titles plus the Who’s Who) by Heron Books, Ontario, Canada (1970s).

Sold for £499 UK. Seller Comments: Full set of 40 hardback novels (mostly containing 2 titles per book). Books are all in good condition. CC Comments: This establishes the market price for a collector quality set of these books in their bright red covers. These library style books are lovely copies to adorn a bookshelf and read.


The Secret of Chimneys, Grosset & Dunlap, New York, USA (1925).

Sold for $249 US. Seller Comments: Book very good, cloth shows very little wear, not ex-library, minor foxing. Dust jacket has a large area from spine and front panel missing. No price on flaps. CC Comments: This particular book has been on eBay for well over a year despite its’ jacket’s scarcity confirming the dilemma many buyers have – wait for a more complete jacket or take what you can get. In the last decade this jacket has only shown for sale one other time on eBay that we are aware of and that had a complete jacket. In our opinion this early Grosset jacket is very collectible and rare so waiting for a better one could take a while. The buyer will now have to decide whether to restore it.


Century of Detective Stories, Hutchinson, London, UK (1935).

Sold at auction for £79.52 UK with 23 bids. Seller Comments: Stories by Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley & others. First thus. The top & bottom of the spine are slightly creased and the corners a little bashed. There is some light foxing along the top of the text-block. The pages remain clean. The front inside cover page has a small ink stamp and a previous owner’s illustrated book label. Dustjacket is torn and creased along the top and bottom with several small chips. CC Comments: For Christie collectors this contains “Sing A Song of Sixpence”. While not the first printing of this short story, we find these anthologies highly desirable especially when complete with the original vintage jacket.


Foreign Language Editions:

Given our recent article on the French ‘Le Masque’ books, we thought our readers would enjoy seeing a couple of related sales.


Set of three ‘Le Masque’ facsimile editions, J. C. Lattes, Paris, France (2017).

Sold for €50 EU. Seller Comments: fac-similé, 3 livres : Le Meurtre.., Dix Petits N....., et Le Crime de L'Orient Express. CC Comments: These newer facsimile versions can often be found on eBay.fr for a reasonable price. They represent a lovely way to acquire facsimile wrappers with their wonderful art from the 1930s. Some are still available direct from the current publisher’s website.


La Mysterieuse Affaire de Styles - signed, Le Masque, Paris, France (1958).

Sold for €112.11 EU at auction with 50 bids. Seller Comments: Edition de 1958, Signé par Agatha Christie pour "Dory". CC Comments: While a later reprint of this title by Le Masque, the price was very low for a signed copy. Often collectors who delve into the less trafficked foreign eBay sites can find bargains. Well bought.


A Couple of Folio Society books:


Murder on the Orient Express, Folio Society, UK (2014).

Sold for £351 UK with 30 bids. Seller Comments: Very Good, couple of small scuff marks to slipcase, otherwise very good, Pages are in good clean condition with no marks or creases visible. CC Comments: Two copies of this book sold within a couple of days – this one and the one below. It confirms not only the demand for this book, but the premium a first printing commands. Buyers should be conscious of the print run and its price when they add this book to their collection.


Murder on the Orient Express, Folio Society, UK (2016). Sold for $250 US. Seller Comments: This is the 2016 second printing. In great condition with minor staining to the page block and stains on some pages. There are also some scuffs on the slipcase. CC Comments: Almost a 50% price reduction from the correct first printing of 2014.


Other Collectibles:


Montblanc Agatha Christie Writers Limited Edition Fountain Pen (c.1993).

Sold for $2,448 US at auction with 1 bid. Seller Comments: New: A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item, #11,790 of 30,000. CC Comments: Sets the current market price for as new original stock with all supporting documents. Our price guide from May 2020 had this as fairly valued at $1,250 US. We'll have to see if pricing stays at this elevated level.


Signed Photograph of Agatha Christie, dated 15 Nov 1975.

Sold for $950 US at auction with 1 bid. Seller Comments: 6x7 rare press photo signed by the author who hated to sign photos. All my items are guaranteed to pass PSA or JSA authentication. CC Comments: A surprisingly robust signature given it was signed two months prior to Agatha Christie’s death. Assuming authentic might have benefitted from pursuit of an independent authentication pre-sale.


Edgar Allen Poe 100th First Day Cover - Autographed by 9 mystery writers (FDC: 1949).

Sold for $560 US at auction with 29 bids. Seller Comments: Signed by Agatha Christie, George Harmon Coxe, Elizabeth Linington, Evan Hunter, Richard B. Freeman, Rex Stout, Dick Francis, Leslie Charteris and 1 other. Near fine condition. CC Comments: Sold by a dealer with over 90,000 transactions, 100% positive feedback & a lifetime guarantee. While we don’t vouch for the authenticity of signatures, this looked to be genuine and as such, truly unique. A one off that will make any collector of mystery ephemera proud to own.


Witness For the Prosecution film poster (c. 1957).

Sold for $70 US. Seller Comments: Original one sheet poster (27 X 41), folded, small repair to verso, else VG+ with no corner pin holes. Directed by Billy Wilder and with a screenplay by Wilder & Harry Kurnitz. This 1957 United Artists release starred Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton & Marlene Dietrich. CC Comments: For a period correct poster that appeals to collectors from many disciplines, it appeared to be very well bought and perhaps could have benefitted from an auction listing.


Summary:

Hopefully the selection of items from September has been of interest. 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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