2022 October: Highlights of Agatha Christie eBay sales
This month’s review of worldwide eBay sales of Agatha Christie related items provides a wide range of collectibles – mostly books but a few other items and a pick for ‘oddity of the month’. 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 = €1.05 = $1.10 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.
Poirot Investigates, The Bodley Head, London, UK (1925).
Sold for £895.85 with 30 bids. Seller Comments: Contents are complete, clean and tight. No marks or inscriptions. Green boards are exceptionally clean and bright. Dust jacket has minor chipping and edge wear. A few minor brown spots to the front endpapers. Restoration internally. VG book in VG- jacket.
CC Comments: An overly optimistic description and misleading. This was a ‘married’ jacket and it’s the wrong jacket for this book. Poirot Investigates was first published in 1924, priced 7/6. The 'popular edition' was published in 1927, priced 3/6 with the same design as the first edition on the cover – the iconic portrait of a standing Poirot by W. Smithson Broadhead. The later 2/6 cheap edition was published in 1928 with a different design on the jacket – which was the jacket in this sale. In addition, the book had a heavily faded spine, significant and fairly poor quality jacket restoration, with large sections replaced. Hence the reason for the low price (relatively). For comparison, a brighter copy of the first 'popular edition' book with the correct 3/6 jacket sold for $6,250 in 2019 at auction in the USA.
Set of 5 Agatha Christie Paperbacks in Arabic, Cairo, Egypt (1980s).
Sold for $75. Seller Comments: Good. No text marking. Yellowing.
CC Comments: While not collectible books, they remind that Christie truly was sold globally. The cover art of foreign language books is always fun to see and sometimes a challenge to decipher the image to guess the novel. Of note, even Egypt used Tom Adams’ art on one of these books – though given that Bantam in the US repurposed that image from Murder in the Mews and used it on a later reprint of Poirot Investigates, I’m hoping one of our Arabic readers can let us know what book it was used on here for an Egyptian printing.
First Day Cover, Agatha Christie Centenary, UK (1991).
Sold for £150 as a Buy it Now. Seller Comments: FDC with silk illustration of the late actress Joan Hickson as Miss Marple signed by Joan Hickson. With Agatha Christie centenary year Postmark 19th March 1991.
CC Comments: A rather odd pairing to have a Miss Marple cover affixed with the stamp sheet for The Mysterious Affair at Styles – a Poirot novel. No provenance for the signature, but not one subject to rampant forgery as Christie's is.
Poirot DVD Collection of 70 discs, Region 2 / PAL, UK (1999 – 2000s).
Sold for £80 as a Buy it Now. Seller Comments: All 70 Films made with David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. In very good condition. All films present and no known issues.
CC Comments: The collective spine artwork alone is a great reason to own this collection if you have adequate shelf space. For all those virtual meetings could there be a better back drop?
Poirot Lends a Hand, Polybooks, UK (1946).
Sold for £107.10 with 7 bids. Seller Comments: Published by Polybooks in March 1946. Very good condition with very slight rubbing to rear cover and very slight rust to staples. Looks unread. Very rare.
CC Comments: In the 1940s Todd and Polybooks issued a number of cheap paperback books containing from one to three Christie stories. This one contains three short-stories: (1) Problem at Pollensa Bay, (2) The Regatta Mystery and (3) The Veiled Lady. In our article about these books (link) we estimated that fair value for a very good copy is likely worth £100 - £150. They are rare and wonderful collectibles to find. This was at the low end of our range – so well bought.
La Maison du Peril, Librairie des Champs-Elysees, Paris, France (1934).
Sold for €305 as a Buy it Now. Seller Comments: Collection du Masque n° 157 de 1934. In-12 cartonnage éditeur de 247 pages au format 11,5 x 18 cm. Superbe jaquette illustrée de Jean Bernard. Cette dernière est très, très légèrement insolée, avec pâle auréole au dos et au bas du 4ème plat, ainsi qu'une petite restauration au verso. Intérieur frais avec un petit défaut de surimpression au bas de la toute dernière page. Assez bel état général. Rare édition originale. (English: essentially very good, some minor damage and restoration to the jacket, and rare).
CC Comments: This book is highly desirable for any Christie collector as are all these early Le Masque printings with their wonderful jackets by Jean Bernard. Our detailed article (link) on them published last year valued them in the €150 range if in very good condition with a complete jacket. We’ve commented that as people learn more about certain books the values will rise so perhaps its time to update estimates for these.
The Seven Dials Mystery, Collins, London, UK (1929).
Sold for £325 as a Buy it Now. Seller Comments: Contents are complete, clean and tight. Text block edges are a little dusty. Faint blemishes to the rear pastedown. No other marks or inscriptions. Black boards are generally clean and bright. Spine ends and corners are a little worn ad soft. Facsimile jacket included.
CC Comments: The end of the 1920s is the point at which the books themselves become a little more affordable and common. By 1929 Christie was a very successful author and print runs were getting larger. Thus, if you are seeking a specific grade of book be patient. They will show up. This was fairly priced for its condition which was a little worse than described in the text with a tear to the cloth on the spine and a far amount of rubbing to the boards - but easily noted in the images.
Sparkling Cyanide, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1945).
Sold for £230.57 with 18 bids. Seller Comments: The wrapper is not price clipped - there was a small amount of loss to the top and bottom of the spine which has been repaired. The book itself is in very good condition with no inscriptions or writing inside.
CC Comments: Correct 8s 6d price on front flap. Significant tape repair on reverse of the jacket which held its price down and a lot of edgewear and creasing. This title and others from the late 1940s used to be very easy to find with very good jackets at affordable prices. That is no longer the case. Most collector quality copies have made it into collections. A similar book but with a very good jacket without tape repairs and the damage this had could easily have experienced double the price. For these books, buy the best you can afford. The pickings are getting slimmer though.
Oddity of the Month: Agatha & Christy, Bearington Collection, Georgia, USA (2004).
Sold for $43.99 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: #1435 in the Bearington Collectible Series, rare, retired in 2005, this one new from 2004. 14 inches tall.
CC Comments: Arguably should have been called Agatha Christie & Peter (or Bob) … but that likely would have caused too much confusion and caused copyright problems! Perhaps a perfect gift for the collector of bears who also loves Agatha.
There were a few questionable sales of books last month including the non-rare version of Third Girl, Fontana, selling for $100 and many others where the prices seemed unusually high. If we write an article – such as the one we did on Third Girl – please read it carefully to ensure that you are bidding on the correct version you seek and that you avoid overpaying for common books. eBay continues 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. You can even write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to give feedback as quickly as we can. Collecting Christie items should be fun and rewarding so make sure you are paying the right price for the right item.
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