• David Morris

2022 July: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay Sales

This month’s review of worldwide eBay sales of Agatha Christie related items focuses mostly on first edition books. We’ve included a selection of collectible 1940s Collins printings to give a sense of where that market is for books and jackets with some flaws. This decade is still affordable for many collectors when compared to the 1930s though prices will vary a lot for condition. Most of these books sold for about 50% of what a true 'very good' or 'near fine' jacketed copy would sell for. Books with a few issues represent a fairly priced entry point for collectors who need affordable firsts. There are a few other items that caught our eye – so 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 = $1.20 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. Each item cited below begins with the seller’s description followed by our comments.


The Seven Dials Mystery, Collins, London, UK (1929).

Sold for $350 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: First edition. Black cloth, titles in red with red border to front board. 6 pp. publisher ads. Light rubbing and wear to exterior. Slight fading to spine. Bump to bottom edge of front board. Hinges tender. No dust jacket.

CC Comments: Well bought as prices for unjacketed 1920s books are edging higher still and getting hard to find with good cloth and boards. Here the lettering was bright and unrubbed.


Ten Little N’s, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1939).

Sold for £1,375 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: First edition, first impression, with the date 1939 on the copyright page, signifying a first impression (the absence of the year denotes a later impression). Near fine.

CC Comments: Very strong money for this book lacking a jacket but affirming that quality has value. This was a solid Very Good copy with just light cloth fading. Quality orange cloth on 1930s books is also getting challenging to locate.


Evil Under the Sun, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1941).

Sold at auction for £1,122.45 with 33 bids. Seller Comments: A Very good copy with original cloth boards with black lettering. Book is square and tightly bound, showing slight foxing to text block and a few pages internally, No inscriptions or writing. Dust jacket priced at 7s.6d.net. Small loss and wear to spine at head of dust jacket with minor chipping to tail of the dust jacket, couple of closed tears and creasing to front panel. Rear panel slightly darkened and spotted.

CC Comments: Between a‘Good plus’ and 'Very Good minus' jacket which provided a good price point for the buyer. Arguably the book that bridges ‘affordable’ (1941 onwards) and ‘unaffordable’ (1940 and earlier) jacketed books for many collectors.


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

Sold for £240.50 with 23 bids. Seller Comments: Very good condition. Contents are complete, clean and tight. No marks or inscriptions. Red boards are clean and bright. Spine ends are a little soft. Vertical crease to the centre of the rear endpaper. Dust jacket has minor edge wear. Not priceclipped at 7s 6d net. Spine is slightly darkened. Minor scuff to the rear fold.

CC Comments: We remember when these were only £10 and common in many used bookstores. Whether Collins printed more of this title in its first run is unclear, but it is a little easier to find than those of the same era.


The Hollow, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1946).

Sold at auction for £215.10 with 16 bids. Seller Comments: A very good. tight copy, with no inscriptions. Red boards are square and straight. Original dust-jacket, priced at 8s.6d slightly rubbed with minor chips (repaired with archival tape) to fold extremities. Dust-jacket spine is slightly faded with faint vertical crease.

CC Comments: The red ink used on the jacket never held its colour well on the spine and is usually heavily faded. Buyers should seek a copy where all the lettering is still readable on the spine whenever possible - this one just did. Often 'The Crime Club' at the foot has vanished!


Taken at the Flood, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1948).

Sold at auction for £185.10 with 26 bids. Seller Comments: In original jacket. A Very good copy with original red cloth boards and black lettering Book is square and tightly bound. No inscriptions or writing. Dust jacket priced at 8s.6d.net. Minor chipping to top and tail of the dust jacket, couple of small closed tears to front fold. Rear panel slightly darkened.

CC Comments: As with many of the books from the late 1940s collectors often thing they are plentiful in very good or better condition, but then when you start to look for one jackets without chips and tears become hard to find. This one was legitimately 'very good' and so should be considered very well bought.


A Murder is Announced, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1950).

Sold at auction for £185.10 with 29 bids. Seller Comments: A very good clean and tight copy, with no inscriptions. Red boards are square and straight. Original dust-jacket, priced at 8s.6d slightly rubbed, front panel creased (bottom right-hand corner), spine tips worn but minimal loss.

CC Comments: Lacking the rare insert. This book is surprisingly difficult to find in a truly Very Good or better jacket (i.e. no excessive creasing) – when one does appear expect to pay double. Add another 25-50% if the promotional insert celebrating 50 books is present.


So Many Steps to Death, A Red Badge Mystery, Dodd Mead & Co, New York, US (1955).

Sold at auction for $177 with 16 bids. Seller Comments: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket.

CC Comments: Very well bought. These US first editions from the 1950s are getting very hard to find in correct first state issuance. Most books from these period that show up for sale are the later Book Club reprints. UK original title: Destination Unknown.


Murder on the Orient Express, The Folio Society, UK (2014).

Sold at auction for £185 with 9 bids. Seller Comments: Unread - as new.

CC Comments: Just 10 months earlier an as new edition of this book sold for £351 UK with 30 bids. While prices have softened for these Folio editions, their quality is still superior to many other reissues. Consequently, if you’ve been waiting for a good time to start buying these for your collection, now appears to be the time. For our full list of these wonderful Christie books published by The Folio Society click here.


[FILM/TV] Newspaper Movie Prop, Pasadena Times Sun (1983).

Sold for $72 as a Buy It Now. Seller comments: From the 1983 Agatha Christie Movie titled "Sparkling Cyanide" starring Josef Summer and Christine Belford (featured on the front of the newspaper). They played the characters George and Rosemary Barton in the movie. Very good physical condition. Paper is 8 pages total (2 Sheets with 4 pages per sheet).

CC Comments: This item has been gathering dust on eBay for a long time and finally found a home. A very 1980s film that was made for television. Not a high spot in the world of Christie films but of note is that the screenplay was written by noted crime author Sue Grafton.

Autographed Christmas Card (1967).

Sold at auction for £250 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: Christmas card signed by Agatha Christie & Curtain Poirot's Last Case Hardback Book. Christmas card and addressed envelope, postmark dated 11th December 1967, and showing the postmark of Wallingford, Berks where she lived in later years. All written and signed by Agatha Christie and under her married name of Agatha Mallowan. The stamp on the envelope is probably worth collecting. All in very good condition and genuine.

CC Comments: In our opinion, an authentic signature but of note is signed “Max & Agatha Mallowan” with Christie signing for Max also. The postmarked envelope elevates the provenance and makes this an ‘A’ grade signature per our article on collecting signatures (click here). Exceptionally well bought and far below market - even for a 'Mallowan' signature.


Autographed Blank Card (1970s).

Sold for $795 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: The autograph is signed ''Agatha Christie'' in blue pen and the card measures 3.50 x 2.75 inches, The card is in fine condition and the autograph is bold and ideal for display.

CC Comments: In our article on signatures, we discuss both Christie authentic and questionable autographs. This signature style on sale here we refer to as “1970s v2”. This second version of signature marked a dramatic change in style penmanship for Christie – potential reasons for which we discuss in our article (link above).


Karen Mabon Scarf “Murder Mystery Print” (2020).

Sold at auction for £69.89 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: This item is new.

CC Comments: Items aren’t really new just because you kept the box! This scarf was the second style created by Mabon in 2020 when the partnership with Agatha Christie Limited began. Now offering a wide range of co-branded clothing and accessories. New editions of the scarves retail for £120.


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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