• David Morris

2022 August: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales

This month’s review of worldwide eBay sales of Agatha Christie related items focuses mostly on books - from first editions, to signed copies, to paperbacks and even an Italian compilation. We also put in a non-book item for good measure! Hopefully there’s something of interest here for everyone.


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 = €1.10 = $1.15 US. 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 which are discussed below. Each item cited below begins with the seller’s description followed by our comments.


A Trio from the 1930s:


The Hound of Death, Odhams, London, UK (1933).

Sold for £205 with 15 bids. Seller Comments: Contents are complete, clean and tight. Ownership name and emblem to the front endpaper. No other marks or inscriptions. Maroon boards are generally clean and bright. Spine ends are a little soft. Dust jacket has chipping and edge wear. Extensive tape reairs and reinforcement internally. Quite a good copy.

CC Comments: Arguably the easiest first edition in a jacket to find from this era. Its ubiquitousness accounts for the affordable price. While the jacketed Collins version of this book is very dear, it was a later printing but much smaller in run size. A market correct price here given its extremely poor jacket with excessive brown tape reinforcements and chipping. Not yet rare or valuable enough to justify professional restoration.


Partners in Crime, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1935).

Sold as a Buy It Now for £150. Seller Comments: 6th impression. Hardback with black boards with red lettering to front and spine. Wear and some loss to top/bottom spine, wear and slight loss to corners, slight wear to edges. White marks on back board. Foxing to edges of page block. Endpapers are tanned, light foxing throughout. Dust Jacket is not clipped, has loss to top and bottom spine and top front cover, Loss at creases. Now in protective sleeve. CC Comments: Most of the 2/6 “Library Editions” by Collins – which are later printings with a lower price point – reused the key components of the original cover art as was the case here. Given that the true firsts for most of the Library Edition books are beyond reach for most collectors and rarely appear for sale anyway, these offer an affordable way to build out a collection. The seller should have used an auction for this and likely lost out on a sale price of at least 2-3 times more.


Murder in the Mews, The Albatross, Leipzig, Germany (1938).

Sold for £280.10 with 18 bids. Seller Comments: #411, very good plus, with dust jacket. Small name in ink. CC Comments: A very strong price for this book – about double the values they were getting when we wrote our detailed article (click here to read) on collecting them in April 2021. As noted then, all are hard to find, but in jacketed condition they are very scarce in collector quality condition. In addition, all The Albatross pre-World War II books are true first paperbacks.


A Selection of Crime Club Firsts from the 1940s:


Five Little Pigs, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1942).

Sold for £665.67 with 23 bids. Seller Comments: The book is in very good condition. 192 pages. Contents are complete, clean and tight. No marks or inscriptions. Red boards are clean and bright. Spine ends are a little soft. Dust jacket has chipping and edge wear. Loss around the top of the spine. Not priceclipped at 8/- net. VG book in Good jacket.

CC Comments: Becoming rare now in a complete collector quality jacket and most on the market have some flaws. This is certainly a market correct price given condition and the added benefit of a correctly priced jacket. Note that later printings did have a lower priced jacket at 4/- which then was often price clipped and married to a first book. It is very meaningful on all these 1940s books to have the correct price on the flap – these will appreciate in value significantly more than clipped or later issue jackets.


Towards Zero, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1944).

Sold as a Buy It Now for $330. Seller Comments: Good condition. Dust jacket with wear as shown. In mylar. CC Comments: These early 1940s “thin” books are getting harder to find and prices are moving higher for collector quality copies. The challenge with Towards Zero is the white paper used for the jacket is very susceptible to soiling and damage, as was the case here. A white, complete jacket could triple the value.


Death Comes as the End, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1945).

Sold for £230 with 6 bids. Seller Comments: With dust jacket. Some wear as shown. First facing page torn out. Pages nice and tight to spine. Marks along pages edges as shown.

CC Comments: The days of this book being commonly available for cheap money are long gone. A market correct price and with the correct price on the flap. It won't be long now until these 1940s books are signficantly scarcer and more costly.


Four Christie Signed Items:


Hickory, Dickory, Dock, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1955).

Sold for £510 with 2 bids. Seller Comments: Signed Agatha Christie Rare. Condition is "Very Good". Jacket is torn and part missing as photos please. CC Comments: Anything signed without provenance requires the buyer to due their own due diligence. This rates as a “C Grade” signature per our grading system – no provenance, some accurate characteristics, and some discrepancies. See our article on grades here.


The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1960).

Sold as a Buy it Now for £495. Seller Comments: Signed. first edition no faults. Small chips and small pieces of see-through tape on verso of dust wrapper. CC Comments: A “D Grade” signature with no provenance, and a double “r” in Christie.


Agatha Christie Hand Signed Autographed Card (n.d.).

Sold for $400 with 19 bids. Seller Comments: Paper Cutout and Framed. It measures 1 3/4 x 4 inches. It is one several autographs that I got as part of a collection. Most of these were acquired by a collector in the 1950’s.

CC Comments: A “B-grade” signature. No provenance but correct features.


[Archie] Christie Autograph (circa 1912).

Sold for £127 with 12 bids. Seller Comments: Agatha Christie’s husband? Rare hand signed autograph (laid down). Size without border 4 3/8“ by 3 1/2” of early aviator pilot “A Christie”. I am assuming this is Christie’s husband as I cannot find any other early aviators with this name in the period this album was put together. After he left school, he passed the entrance exam to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and, in 1909, was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He then joined the 138th Battery R.F.A. He wanted to be a pilot so he paid for private lessons in the Bristol Flying School at Brooklands and gained his aviators certificate on 12 July 1912. He met Agatha Miller (Crime writer Agatha Christie) when he was invited to a ball on 12 October 1912. Comes from a collection recently purchased and put together by the owner of the collections mother in the early days of aviation. From the content of the collection of which many are related to Hendon I would assume his mother had a connection to the aerodrome. Pasted on original album page and in very good condition. Guaranteed Genuine Signature.

CC Comments: First of all any signature is a ‘guaranteed genuine signature’. There’s a lot of assumptions here and the buyer is clearly taking a leap of faith.


An Italian Edition:


Le Avventure di Ercole Poirot, Arnoldo Mondadori, Italy (1954).

Sold for €60 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Adhesive tape inside the dust jacket, adhesive tape on the front page (on the rib), small tears on the dust jacket, yellowish stain on the front of the dust jacket due to old adhesive tape. CC Comments: First Italian edition (thus) from February 1951 of this collection of Poirot novels through Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. Highly appealing for its wrap around artistic jacket – which is often not present.


Other Collectibles:


The Mousetrap Enamel Box, Halcyon Days, UK (2002).

Sold for $262 with 3 bids. Seller Comments: Please check our other auctions for additional pieces. The piece is an Agatha Christie Mouse Trap box. The piece is a box featuring a poster from the mouse trap play. It is limited edition 115/150. CC Comments: A highly appealing and unique collectible in a very small edition. Items such as these will always have a market and it is the edition run size that is meaningful here. Often collectibles will have 1,000 run size which really eliminates any long-term value appreciation.


Summary:

As we’ve said before, 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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