2021 March: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales
Agatha Christie related items continue to have a robust and vibrant market on eBay's sites around the world. While most of the activity is on the UK and US sites, there are also vibrant communities on the smaller global sites, such as Australia and Germany. Since some sellers do not automatically list items as for sale globally, keen collectors may have to monitor multiple sites and reach out to reluctant shippers.
For March 2021, there were several unique items for sale - a few of which we have detailed below. Sales of Folio Society books with artwork by Andrew Davidson continued to collect higher prices, while older books continued to show that quality has a premium price. For those collecting paperbacks, DVDs, and reading copies, the breadth of offerings is large and prices are reasonable. Below we have profiled just a few items to give you a sense of where the market is today as well as sharing our oddity of the month – the last entry below. Enjoy!
Note that for every item we profile, we show the price realized as stated by eBay and the currency based on where it was listed. Generally, to convert, £1 UK = $1.40 US = $2 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. Each item cited below begins with the seller’s description followed by our comments.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Grosset & Dunlap, New York, USA (1927).
Sold for $400 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: A very good hardcover book in a like dustjacket. The book has a slight shelf lean; the only markings are a former owner's signature from Christmas 1928. The jacket is whole and complete but has a few strips of old clear tape along the spine edges and corners. CC Comments: Sadly most 'vintage' reprints of this title are the World War II era copies referencing Madison Square. This was not. It was a true 1927 Grosset (either the 3rd or 4th overall printing) with the period correct jacket. The jacket’s cover art was first used by John Lane in 1920, and then reused by Dodd, Mead (with the exception of the reference to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) when they reissued the book in 1926. Dodd, Mead & Co gave reprint rights to Grosset (with the exception of Poirot Investigates). For this title, Dodd took over printing rights from John Lane and the 2nd printing in 1926 was Dodd Mead's first. There was a 3rd printing in 1927, though we have not seen a copy and thus do not know if this was the 2nd Dodd or 1st Grosset printing. This book did not show its copyright page when listed and so could have been either the 3rd or 4th printing in 1927. All these period correct early Grosset jackets are now very scarce and in our opinion offer exceptionally good value for the buyer. Very well bought.
Why Didn't They Ask Evans, Collins Crime Club (paperback), London, UK (1936).
Sold for £29.99 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: First appearance in paperback 2 years after hardback 1st issue. This was only the 4th printing of this title. Book is tight and clean throughout with dust wrapper with visible wear as shown. CC Comments: The dust jackets from these early paperbacks rarely survive so it is wonderful to see one. Seller likely made a mistake not using an auction format. It is worth many times more than the selling price. Extremely well bought and a great addition to any paperback collection.
Murder on the Nile, Samuel French Acting Edition, London, UK (1948).
Sold for £54.90 with 2 bids. Seller Comments: Some cues marked with pencil. Covers slightly foxed. Spine bumped head and foot and has minor losses. Staples rusted causing slight staining. Both endpapers and covers have become detached from staples but still attached to spine. CC Comments: A market correct price for a correct first printing with markings and flaws as stated. Would garner 2-3 times for a clean, near fine copy. The second printing shifted the price to the top right of the cover as ‘4s net’ and is thus less desirable. However, this is one of the most appealing Christie plays to collect due to the cover art and the fact that it is one of the Christie-penned plays.
13 at Dinner, Red Arrow Books, Milwaukee, USA (1939).
Sold for $50 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: In very good condition, shelf wear to edges and corners, discoloration and small tears at spine. CC Comments: Published as Lord Edgware Dies in the UK, this is one of the earliest Christie paperbacks and the only Christie published by the short-lived Red Arrow Books in the USA. Quite rare and unusual, this book purportedly comes in several variants though only the red cover version has been seen. Sold well below market so well bought.
Murder on the Orient Express, HarperCollins Limited Edition, London, UK (2010).
Sold for £31 with 7 bids. Seller Comments: 1 of 1,000 copies specially produced for Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Dark blue cover, gold gilt lettering and page edges. Like New. CC Comments: There are several different styles of these limited editions printed for the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express company. For example, there is another edition of 500 from 1995. While they lack illustrations, the quality of these limited editions is of a high standard and they are attractive collectibles to own. With their lovely design, quality paper stock and limited print run they are highly collectible. The price realized here seems exceptionally low. Usually they sell for closer to £75-100. These books offer strong long-term appreciation potential and as buyers become more aware of them expect prices to rise. Well bought.
Montblanc Agatha Christie Writers Edition Fountain Pen.
Sold for $2,589 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: Montblanc Agatha Christie vermeil, Fine point, number 2341/4810. New pen with F sticker. It was a display item so no paperwork or box. CC Comments: Our price guide for these pens published in May 2020 estimated a value of $2,500 US, but that assumed it came with papers and an original box. This is the most desirable of all the Christie Montblanc pens, which continue to attract buyers and hold their value. Of note, at the same time a matching box was sold for $105 US from a New Jersey seller which stated stock from a closed retailer! One can assume these two go together since the pen was sold by a NY reseller, but somehow ended up with different sellers – hopefully the buyer found both.
Penguin Books Mugs: Set of 4: N. Douglas, V. Woolf, Bates & Agatha Christie.
Sold for £186 with 26 bids. Seller Comments: Never used and sent with original Harrods boxes which is where they were purchased from. Boxes are a little damaged, but mugs are perfect. CC Comments: A surprise price perhaps - essentially £50 a mug. Maybe one of these is more unique than the offer, but this does seem a little excessive. Will they go in the dishwasher!
A sampling of Folio Society Books Sold in March
Hercule Poirot box set, Folio Society, London, UK (2014).
Sold at auction for $813 with 51 bids. Seller Comments: This set is in excellent condition and all 4 volumes have been opened and read. Bindings and dust jackets have little to no wear and tear. CC Comments: Books in this Poirot set are Death on the Nile, The ABC Murders, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Murder on the Orient Express. Included the slip case also. As we’ve stated before it’s time for us to update our article on collecting Folio Society books. As we predicted a year ago in our May 2020 article prices for these lovely books would escalate – and they have. A year ago, this set could have been acquired for ~$150 US. The demand for all Folio Society Christie printings is not waning as the quality and scarcity is gaining appreciation. However, there is a stronger demand and price for the newer versions, especially those with the artwork by Andrew Davidson. Only the 2003 Miss Marple set still trades for a significantly lower price. It appears the printing volume for that set was greater than any of the others the Folio Society did.
Murder on the Orient Express, Folio Society, London, UK (2014).
Sold for $560 with 8 bids. Seller Comments: Includes illustrator Andrew Davidson's distinctive style. It is in marvelous condition, with no marks or other blemishes, and it comes in its original slipcase, which is also like new. CC Comments: See above, plus it makes the 4 books in the box set seem like a bargain. Though there is a slight premium for the individually issued titles in their own slip case.
Death on the Nile, Folio Society, London, UK (2014).
Sold at auction for $650 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: First printing of this sought-after edition. Stunning illustrations by Andrew Davidson. Like new. CC Comments: See above!
Oddity of the Month: 1/6 Mattel Ken Doll David Suchet as Christie’s Poirot (2021).
Sold for $90 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: “One of a kind” nude doll (Cristal cave king by Mattel head and Emmet from Twilight movie, my Mattel body) painted by I'mDolls in Russia. CC Comments: Certainly “ooak”! We profiled this during the month on our Twitter feed at which time there was no buyer – but someone took it and hopefully will clothe him. Sadly, David Suchet never replied to our tweet – would have loved a comment!
In addition to the opening comments at the top of the article. there were a number of signed books that sold this month. We’ve shied away from profiling them as the signatures were questionable and they lacked provenance. In the near future, we will publish an article on Christie signatures which we hope will provide some sorely needed insights into this world. Hopefully you enjoyed this article. Please consider sharing and reposting the link to this article on your Social Media sites. We continue to strive to grow our readership and add value to the global and diverse world of those who cherish owning, collecting, reading and enjoying everything Christie.