• David Morris

2022 January: Review of Agatha Christie sales on eBay.

“Collecting things is a great bond, isn’t it?” – Agatha Christie, 18 September 1967.


For January’s review of worldwide eBay sales of Agatha Christie related items, we’ve selected a range of items this month, include those with plenty of bids, a few bargains and a few lesser-known collectibles. Hopefully there is something 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 = €1.15 = $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.


The Mystery of the Blue Train, Grosset & Dunlap, New York, USA (c. Jan 1929).

Sold for £175 as a Buy-it-now. Seller Comments: Very Good in Very Good jacket. 5th or later Edition. Light rubbing to corners and light bumping to spine extremities. Former owner's name and address. DJ corners and spine extremities have small chips. Surface rubbing and light soiling to DJ, with a few tiny tears. CC Comments: Odd to state 5th or later edition, as Grosset & Dunlap listed the print run on the copyright page. It is likely the 9th edition from January 1929. The Dodd Mead & Co first edition was reprinted in rapid succession with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd printing in July 1928 alone. Consequently, the first edition’s fairly uninspired jacket has been married to all the first printings and so is quite ubiquitous. This Grosset jacket is distinctly more glamourous and relatively hard to find in complete condition. There is a large market for the 1920s jacketed Grossets, especially since many had unique art, and this was well bought. That it was being sold in Ireland is a little unusual though!


The Mysterious Affair at Styles & The Murder on the Links, Penguin Books, UK (1935, 1936).

Sold for £752.99 with 42 bids. Seller Comments: Two first editions as follows, #6 and #6a. My amateur, conservative grading for these books is Acceptable/Good as per the scans. They are sound and complete but are showing varying degrees of ageing - #6 is in the better condition and borderline VG with #6A having noticeable foxing to the cover and a tear between cover and spine. CC Comments: A hotly contested item resulting in very strong money. It is still befuddling that Penguin reused #6 for The Murder on the Links, as #6a, rather than giving it a new number. Both of these were the correct first Penguin printings. Styles was in very good condition and thus likely drove the pricing here.


Murder on the Orient Express, Detective Weekly, pulp magazine bound collection, 6 volumes, UK (July 1934 – Dec 1937, excluding Jan-Jun 1936).

Sold for £654 as a Buy-it-now. Seller Comments: Includes Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express over 5 consecutive weekly printings (starting 6 July 1935), 156 issues in total. CC Comments: Murder on the Orient Express's first true publication was the US serialisation in six installments in The Saturday Evening Post from September 30 to November 4, 1933 (Volume 206, Numbers 14 to 19), under the title Murder in the Calais Coach. The first UK serialization appeared after the book was published and it was heavily abridged. This is the first UK complete serialisation but is not a true first. While the issue’s cover is appealing, it is likely other stories in this collection drove the strong money realised.


Montblanc Writer’s Edition Vermeil Fountain Pen (1993).

Sold for £1,370 with 14 bids. Seller Comments: Excellent condition, all stickers, personal service card, international service certificate booklet, box and papers. Limited Edition number 3353/4810. CC Comments: Our price guide from 2020 estimated the value of this pen at ~£2,000. Prices have generally firmed and improved since then, so this is exceptionally well bought. For collectors of these pens, this is the one you want.


Endless Night [signed], Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1967).

Sold at auction for £620 with 35 bids. Seller Comments: Signed and inscribed in biro by the author to the front free end paper. This is the last of my brother's signed Agatha Christie's that he has sold over the past few years. It is bumped to the spine ends and has some foxing to the fore edge but is otherwise tidy. CC Comments: Inscribed to “John”, which we assume was the seller’s brother, Dr. John Knight (Knights Rare Books). The signature rates a ‘B’ on our grading scale as it has all the right attributes and is being sold by a reputable dealer. Consequently, well bought.


Death in the Air, Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, USA (1935).

Sold for $200 as a Buy-it-now. Seller Comments: First edition. Very good with age spotting and color change to the spine cloth and around the spine. CC Comments: UK title – Death in the Clouds. While this may appear strong money for a US book without its jacket, it is a surprisingly difficult title to find and the true first printing of this novel preceding Collins by several months. The front cover has also lost some of its original colour as the lettering should be a bright orange, but until a better one is found it likely helps complete a collection of true firsts.


Set of 33 'White Circle' paperbacks, Collins Crime Club, London, UK (1940s-1950s).

Sold for £129.95 as a Buy-it-now. Seller Comments: Books printed just after World War 2. As far as I can tell they are all 1st Editions. Some of these titles are extremely difficult to find and would make a splendid addition to any Christie fans collection! CC Comments: While many of the spines were fairly tatty this was a quick and affordable way to jump start your Christie paperback collection of White Circles. Well bought.


Les Dix Petits Nègres, Le Masque, Librairie des Champs-Élysées, Paris, France (1940).

Sold for €90 as a Buy-it-now. Seller Comments: [translated] Collection Le Masque #299, Jacket present but needs to be restored. Book in fair condition with no flaws or foxing. CC Comments: This is the last of the wonderful jacketed Christie books issued in France under the Le Masque imprint. It is also believed to be the first global paperback printing of the book and in very good condition would typically command €250 - €350. These early le Masque books are some of our favourites to collect, offering tremendous value and yet are hard to find in very good condition. Sometimes you have to take what’s on offer and upgrade later if you can.


4:50 From Paddington & The Mystery of the Blue Train, Folio Society, London, UK (1990).

Sold for £117 with 17 bids. Seller Comments: Have not been taken out of their box since buying. In best condition. CC Comments: Referred to as “The Railway Mystery Set”, these are the first Agatha Christie books published by the Folio Society. The cloth is commonly worn as they were often read not collected and have now been around for 32 years. These were in lovely condition and thus well bought.


Set of 21 large print paperbacks, Thorpe / Ulverscroft Publishing, UK (2000s).

Sold for £168.00 as a Buy-it-now. Seller Comments: Ex-library books with usual stamps and markings, in good condition. There may be some dirt, damage. CC Comments: A great reminder for those who buy for readers with failing eyesight or suffer themselves, almost all Christie books have been published in large print formats by Ulverscroft. They are readily available in both new and used condition and allow individuals to continue to enjoy reading printed Christie books for many years.


Summary:

eBay and other online sites continue to offer 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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