• David Morris

2022 April: Agatha Christie items sold on eBay.

This month’s review of worldwide eBay sales of Agatha Christie related items again focuses on a few of the highlights. The items we’ve profiled below are hopefully are of interest to our readers. In aggregate, these monthly eBay reviews provide some insights into the current market for Christie collectibles. While there is still a robust marketplace with dealers, those ‘retail’ transactions are less transparent as many prices are negotiated away from the public.


As with March’s sales, it should be noted that a number of the books sold appear to be from the collection of noted Christie historian Karl Pike which is why some unique items are appearing. If our understanding is correct, aside from a few fixed price listings, all books to be auctioned have now been sold.


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 First Editions:


The Road of Dreams, Geoffrey Bles, London (1925). Sold for £300 with one bid. Seller Comments: No dust jacket. With a compliment slip from the Clarion newspaper company also dated 1925.

CC Comments: A market correct price for an unjacketed copy of this collection of poetry. Financed at Christie’s own expense, this was the only time the publisher Bles and Christie worked together. The results were poor with the book not selling through. Most of the poems were later reprinted in the 1970s in ‘Poems’. This is a hard book to find, especially in the original dust wrapper (lacking here). For full details on this Christie oddity click here.


The Seven Dials Mystery, Collins, London (1929). Sold for £300 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: 1st. Edition, hard covers, no dust jacket, no names within, indentations to the ffep where a price and other numerals have been erased, Good only.

CC Comments: Fairly described as ‘Good’ and a reasonable price for that condition. While this was not one of them, there were a number of rather tatty first editions sold from the 1930s and 1940s that were dolled up with facsimile dust jackets. Several sold for rather shocking high prices. For those interested in unjacketed books from these early years be patient and don’t settle for tatty (less than ‘good’) copies. Between eBay, alibris and abebooks, what you search for will likely show up within a few months in at least a ‘good’, if not better, condition. Plus you can easily buy a facsimile jacket for £20 or so online.


Overseas Editions:


Orient Express, Mondadori, Italy (1940). Sold for €85 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Palmina #147. In facsimile jacket.

CC Comments: Sadly not the original jacket, but always fun to see the design of original art work on foreign language editions.

A Daughter’s a Daughter, Heinemann, (1952). Sold for £51.53 with 5 bids. Seller Comments: Written by Mary Westmacott (pseud. for Agatha Christie). Variant Australian dust jacket. ‘Special printing by arrangement with the Cole Turnley Book Club, Melbourne and Auckland’ printed on the rear flap. Red cloth with gilt lettering - I assume the jacket was put round UK copies. Stamp of Australian bookshop on front endpaper. Page edges dusty/grubby and foxed. Some foxing mainly to endpapers. The variant dust-jacket is grubby and slightly edge worn. Priced at 11/3.

CC Comments: Variant jackets such as this one are highly collectible and appealing, though not always as valuable at the correct UK jacket. Of note, this seller also sold a UK first with UK jacket, which realized £67.86 with 3 bids.


A Pair of paperbacks by The Albatross:


Three Act Tragedy, Albatross, Leipzig, Germany (1935). Sold for £162 with 9 bids. Seller Commets: Albatross Crime Club paperback #140 1935 first edition. Published in Germany, printed in Scotland. Near vg in near vg dust-jacket with marked spine and small loss to top of spine. Label on rear.

CC Comments: The true first paperback version of this book and still with the Crime Club logo and affiliation. Of note here is the complete dust jacket which makes these highly collectible. Many of the books published by The Albatross are true first paperback printings making the whole series of 16 books highly desirable. This sold for a market correct price, but demand is growing and the books are scarce with jackets.


Ten Little Niggers, Albatross, Verona, Italy (1947). Sold for £170.10 with 11 bids. Seller Comments: #554 first edition thus - vintage paperback. Pages browned. Near vg. The dust-jacket is worn with loss to the spine and edges. Some browning and other edge wear. About good.

CC Comments: Unlike the USA, Europe utilized the UK title, which was questionable in its day and is certainly offensive today. This was one of two books published by The Albatross after World War II. For these books, The Albatross dropped their ‘Crime Club’ connections and logo. However, this book was still visually similar to the pre-war editions. Again, of note here is the complete dust jacket. For more details on collecting The Albatross books click here.


Modern Collectibles:


The Murder on the Links, Easton Press, Connecticut, USA (c. 2000s). Sold for $299.99 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Factory sealed, as new.

CC Comments: These are nice books for those who enjoy modern collectible editions. While they lack the artwork of the Folio Editions, they still have a solid following. The seller had 5 of them, 3 had sold already confirming there is both a market for these books and this is the going price. Easton Press prints each title over several years so its hard to know for certain when this was printed. Their current book is The Secret Adversary which you can buy direct for $85 or from resellers for close to $200!


WBYK Screen Print poster set of 3: Evil Under the Sun, Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express (2022). Sold for £299.99 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Set of three matching number, 18x24 inch screen prints, Limited edition of 200, Evil Under The Sun and Death On The Nile are printed on 300gsm Gmund Bauhaus white paper, Murder On The Orient Express printed on 300gsm Gmund Bauhaus black paper. Set printed by White Duck Editions, UK; Excellent condition: no issues and never framed, has been stored flat in an archival sleeve since purchase.

CC Comments: We recently wrote an article about these prints by WBYK (We Buy Your Kids) commenting that they were very visually appealing and offered tremendous value for collectors. Well bought. Let’s hope they are enjoyed – framed and on the wall! Our full article on collecting modern Christie screen prints can be found here.


Other Collectibles:


Signed manuscript letter (1964). Sold for £1,276 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Original Signed Letter from Winterbook House - signed as Mrs. Mallowan. Condition is remarkable and with original envelope and postage stamp; envelope written in Agatha Christie’s hand. No staining or toning at all and the corners of the paper are good and sharp.

CC Comments: An ‘A’ grade signature and letter per our grading system discussing the rather mundane realities of maintaining a second home – in this case Greenway – and liaising with her on site ‘property manager’, Mrs. Elliot. Similar letters have sold for less, so this is strong money but a lovely collectible none-the-less.



And Then There Were None, Ideal Board Games, USA (1968). Sold for $150 at auction with 1 bid. Seller Comments: Game is complete with board, nine cards, one die, 4 game pieces, information book with sheets (has "cover" sheet plus 8 info sheets still attached, plus 2 loose sheets) and all inside box parts intact. Box top is missing one side completely. Cover art is sharp with colors still bright, the one blemish being some price tag sticker residue. Overall, a very nice example of a very rare board game.

CC Comments: Without a doubt, the best game board ever made... look at all those scattered dead bodies. Cluedo was never so dramatic! Often these board games are missing pieces, so arguably a market correct price for a complete game. There’s definitely a market for these old Christie board games and not many versions exist.


Summary:

As we’ve said often, eBay offers great opportunities to add to your collection. Do your due diligence when buying on eBay and seek clarity from sellers on anything unclear or unsaid.


Happy hunting!


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