• David Morris

2022 September: 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 – from books to film memorabilia, with a pick for ‘oddity of the month’. Hopefully there’s something of interest here for everyone.


However, before delving into the notable sales, a digression. I was asked to create a video for the 2022 International Agatha Chrisite Festival on collectible all things 'Tommy and Tuppence' to celebrate 100 years since the publication of their first book. If you haven't had a change to watch our 30 minute video, please do - I think you'll enjoy it: LINK TO VIDEO


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. A brief aside on currencies... for US collectors the collapse of the UK currency makes this an excellent time to buy books from UK dealers!


Cards on the Table, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1937).

Sold for £315.50 with 16 bids. Seller Comments: First edition. The book is quite worn, the cloth isn't very bright, is marked and faded. Pages are foxed, and an inscription ia rubbed out at the bottom of the half-title. The dust jacket, well let’s be honest, remnants of a dustjacket, is very worn and was missing large parts of the spine and rear fold over flap. This has been replaced (by an amateur) with paper to make up the appearance of a full jacket. The front flap and back panel are scuffed with paper surface missing. Underneath the dustjacket is quite orange. Not a very attractive dustjacket but quite scarce.

CC Comments: At some point a jacket stops being a jacket. I’ve seen some talented restorations out there so expect to see this repaired, married to a better book, and listed for sale for £5,000-£10,000 depending on how transparent the seller is about the Frankenstein wrapper.


Three Act Tragedy, Collins Crime Club, The Library Edition, London, UK (1937).

Sold for £520.10 with 15 bids. Seller Comments: 1937 fourth impression. Firmly bound in the original orange cloth with black lettering to the spine. A bit of fading at the top of the spine. Previous owner's bookplate on the inside front cover, and he has also written his name and date on the title page. It really is a pretty nice copy. The dustjacket is a little bit worn at the edges and has a couple of small holes or chips at the edge of the spine. There are several small tears at the edges but other than that it is quite clean and more or less complete. Price on the spine is 2/6 net.

CC Comments: These “Library Editions” with uniform spine designs and a then affordable price relative to new books, have now become very collectible as they generally use the artwork from the 1st edition. Given that a true jacketed first of this book could easily fetch over £20,000, these often become an affordable choice for someone wanting a complete vintage collection. Well bought.


The Mystery of the Blue Train, Collins, London, UK (1938).

Sold for £512.51 with 17 bids. Seller Comments: 3/6 reprint 1938 hardback. Book Condition: cloth very clean and bright, page edges a little foxed, a little offsetting. Overall near VG in an internally repaired worn dust-jacket with loss, creasing and tears. Priced at 3/6 on the spine.

CC Comments: As with the book above, another example of an affordable version of this title with the same cover art and spine design as the true first. Sadly some of these jackets are sacrificed to help restore first editions which is a shame. Well bought.


The Clocks, Collins, The Crime Club, London, UK (1963).

Sold for £139.77 with 16 bids. Seller Comments: Very good. A few marks to inner first page and a little foxing to side of pages.

CC Comments: As we’ve likely noted before, the dust wrapper for The Clocks is notoriously hard to find in ‘as new’ condition, and generally hard to find without any meaningful chips to the spine. For some reason this jacket easily tore. This copy’s jacket is complete though with a little edge wear – none the less an uncommon condition leading to the numerous bids.


The Miss Marple Novels - Agatha Christie 4 Volume Set - Folio Society, England (2013).

Sold for £600 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Like new. Unread. Check photos for condition.

CC Comments: Originally issued in 2012 so assuming the seller described these correctly they would be a second print run. These four volumes are: Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, Pocket Full of Rye, and Sleeping Murder. Introduced by Laura Thompson and illustrated by Andrew Davidson. Original price £100. A lovely set and strong money for a 2013 set. Full details on collecting Folio Society books can be found here.


NON-BOOK COLLECTIBLES


[Letter] Manuscript letter, signed (1953).

Sold as a Buy-it-Now for £950. Seller Comments: autograph letter signed, to Mrs [Lily] Belson, offering her the post of housekeeper at Winterbrook House, Wallingford, home of author Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan from 1934 until her death in 1976 and his in 1978.

CC Comments: Signed ‘Agatha Mallowan’ with all the correct points and characteristics. Lacking the envelope for complete provenance, thus grade A-, but otherwise a very authentic letter similar to others where Christie writes to her housekeeper. Our grading system for signatures can be found here.


[Painting] Acrylic on canvas, portrait (2022).

Sold as a Buy-it-Now for £250. Seller Comments: Artist Nicholas Philip James, ROI. 10”x 8” (25 x20 cms) after Photo by Angus McBean NPG. Signed by artist.

CC Comments: A small format and rather crude but pleasant painting. The artist was born in 1948 in Kent, England, studied painting at the Slade School 1966-70, Dip F.A. History of Art(MA) Kingston University 1995 and is a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Federation of British Artists. He maintains his studio practice at Candid Arts Trust Islington.


[Film] Murder on the Orient Express set of lobby cards, French version (1975).

Sold for €120 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Magnifique! Tres rare jeu photos cinema edition prestige grand format (photo approx 30x40cm). CC Comments: I removed copious exclamation points from the seller comments and abbreviate but he was clearly enamoured with these. Always interesting to see how titles are translated – here the French went with “The Orient Express Crime”.


[Film] Death on the Nile film poster, French version (1978).

Sold for €330. Seller Comments: Tres rare d'epoque en dimension geante. Voir introuvable de nos jours, affiche cinema originale tres grand format; dimension approx : 3x4m ( 8 panneaux ). Les details sont encore plus saisissants sur les affiches de ce format.

CC Comments: This large format (3 x 4 metres), eight panel poster is quite uncommon, thus the strong money, though the folds are quite pronounced. At least a word for word correct title translation!

[Television] TV Times magazine, featuring Francesca Annis, UK (March 29-April 4 1980).

Sold for £50 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Reading wear and some light foxing otherwise copy very good.

CC Comments: Profiling the new film of Why Didn’t They Ask Evans starring Francesca Annis – not as Tuppence Beresford. One of my personal favourite performances of hers. So for all those hoarders who kept their weekly TV Times think how much money may be buried there.


[Game] Orient Express Board Game, Jumbo, (Dutch company), UK (1986).

Sold for €32.50. Seller Comments: Ce jeu est complet, état correct.

CC Comments: Not licensed or approved by Agatha Christie Limited but clearly not trying to avoid direct correlation with Christie’s story. These vintage board games are great fun and are gaining value. This was well bought for a complete set.


Oddity of the Month:

Monster Horror Movie Memorabilia BAM! Agatha Crispies box (c. 2020s). \

Sold for $17.95. Seller Comments: Absolutely awesome and highly collectible Bam! horror collectible prop replica memorabilia.

CC Comments: We don’t even know what this is or why it exists. Maybe one of our enlightened readers will clue us in… but is entertaining none the least. There must be someone out there who keeps one of these on the shelf in their kitchen.


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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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.

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