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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

2021 January: Highlights of Christie eBay sales

Below are a few highlights of Agatha Christie items sold on eBay around the world in January 2021. This month we’ve categorized our highlight items by genre. For every item we profile below, we show the price realized as stated by eBay and the currency based on where it was listed. To convert, £1 UK = $1.37 US = $2 AUD. 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. Each item cited below begins with the seller’s description followed by our comments.

Murder on the Orient Express (1934): Collins, The Crime Club, UK. First edition, first impression (no dust jacket). Sold for £1,250 as a Buy It Now (after originally selling for 1 bid and then immediately being relisted). Condition: Good. Bound in original orange cloth, a little faded at edges and carrying marks and stains, corners worn, spine faded and frayed. Hinges pretty good, if a little shaky. Former library copy and bears the unobtrusive marks on front and rear boards and edge of spine of what appears to have once been sellotape holding down a label across the middle of the spine. The front and back pastedowns carry the glued-down remains of labels later torn off, and there is a small, neat library stamp on the half-title page.

CC Comments: In our recent article on collecting copies of this book, it was noted that many first impressions appear to have ended up in libraries. There were three print runs of this book in January alone, and thus this true first is very scarce. Most true firsts that appear for sale are of similar quality – well worn, ex-library, and showing signs of usage. Many end up rebound or repapered to remove the flaws and library markings. However, this is one of the few books where an ex-library copy is acceptable as it is authentic for true firsts. This was fairly bought and the price was market correct for this book.

Murder on the Orient Express (1934): (image at top of page) Collins, The Crime Club, UK. First edition, first impression (no dust jacket). Sold for $2,960 as a Buy It Now. Very good first edition, first printing. No inscriptions. Pages are clean with only a slight scattering of foxing. Minor discoloration to spine, in original orange cloth covers. CC Comments: So this book sold for almost double the one previously discussed for two reasons. First, it had no library stamps which is exceptionally uncommon for a true first. Looking at historical sales maybe only 1 in 5 or fewer are in original cloth and papers with no library markings. For example, there are currently two copies for sale on eBay now – one as a Buy It Now that is repapered and one at auction that is ex-library. Second, the cloth quality, and interior boards, were of a higher quality. These small changes can make a large change in the value of a book. Well sold and well bought.

Death on the Nile (2014): The Folio Society, London, UK. First edition thus. Sold for £160 with 29 bids.As new book in very good original slipcase, illustrated with period style plates by Andrew Davidson.

CC Comments: We’ve stated before that The Folio Society books are quickly becoming the most desirable modern collectibles of Christie’s books. With 29 bids from 5 different bidders the action was spirited for this book. Expect prices to rise as these books find more permanent homes and fewer become available for sale.

The Clocks (1963): Collins, The Crime Club, UK. First edition in original jacket. Sold for £65 as a Buy It Now. A superb UK first edition with a wrapper that is not price clipped.

CC Comments: This is one of the hardest Christie’s to find from the 1960s or 1970s with a complete, unchipped jacket. For some reason the paper used for this jacket was very susceptible to wear and damage. Consequently, this was very well bought and a bit of a rarity.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1938): Collins, The Crime Club, UK. 2/6 Edition, likely 17th printing. Sold for £1,100 as a Buy It Now. Signed Agatha Christie hard back. Book is in good condition.

CC Comments: While we don’t comment on the authenticity of signed items, it is important for buyers to do their own due diligence and ask for provenance from the seller. In this case signed later editions during Christie’s highly productive years are relatively common, but consistently add £500 plus to the value of a book (more if an association copy). In this case given the general lack of value to the underlying book this is well sold and top price was paid to acquire it.

Collection of White Circle paperbacks: Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK. Sold for £65 as a Buy It Now. Job lot of 23 Agatha Christie Vintage White Circle Crime Club Novels (mostly 1950s). These have a variety of slightly different covers as shown in photos four and five. There are two copies of Murder on the Orient Express and Why Didn't They Ask Evans.

CC Comments: A wonderful way to quickly jump start a collection of the UK White Circle paperbacks. These continue to be highly collectible though finding them in collector quality is getting much harder. These books mostly appeared to be in very good condition making this very well bought.

Towards Zero (1944): Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, USA. First edition (printing unclear) in jacket. Sold for $83 as a Buy It Now. Precedes the UK edition. Red Badge Mystery. Near Fine; dustjacket is price-clipped and has many tape repairs to verso in Good+ condition.

CC Comments: The listing did not make it clear if this was the true first. Collectors need to know that because of war time issues, printing was shifted to The Blakiston Company early in the print run. Of the ‘first editions’ an estimated 90% of them have the Blakiston imprint on the title page. These must be viewed as second printings. Those with only Dodd Mead markings and no reference to The Blakiston Company are the true firsts and will command four times this price. Hopefully the buyer did their research with the seller and this was well bought.

Evil Under the Sun Original Single Sheet Film Poster (1982): Australian version. Sold for $55AUD as a Buy It Now. Size: 101cm x 69cm. Poster Condition: Main body of poster: very fine, Borders: fair with pin holes.

CC Comments: Given the edge wear and pin holes this poster is not a ‘put away’ collectible but can be enjoyed, framed affordably and hung to admire. When one considers the cost of any form of wall art, usable film posters are a great value for money.

Pera Palas Hotel Vintage Keychain Room No. 411 – the Agatha Christie room: Sold for $40 as a Buy It Now (Greece based item).

CC Comments: For those who aren’t familiar with the story of the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, all we can suggest is to read our full article on this room by clicking here. It’s a fascinating story of seances, Murder on the Orient Express, and publicity. This key chain was sold as a souvenir for the ‘Christie room’ and is a fun memento to own.

Doctor Who 2015 Red Parallel [50] Base Card #118 “Agatha Christie”: Sold for £10 as a Buy It Now. New card – unused.

CC Comments: Our fun collectible of the month – The “Agatha Christie” Dr. Who card. From the episode “The Unicorn and the Wasp” which is a “must-see” for any Christie fan. The script is excellent as it integrates so many titles of Christie books as part of the dialogue.

Summary: As is common, most eBay activity around the world for Christie occurs in reading quality paperbacks. There continues to be a fairly robust trade in the Bantam leatherette books (black) which routinely sell for $5-10 US per book. There also continues to be sizeable trade in the HarperCollins facsimile editions, with prices varying between $10 to $40 US in most cases, per book. There is also a robust marketplace for DVDs for those who want to own all the Poirot and Miss Marple TV shows, plus most films.

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