• David Morris

AUCTION ALERT: A Wonderful Selection of Early Jacketed Christie First Editions.

Heritage Auctions in Dallas, USA is holding a ‘Signature Rare Book’ auction on the 27-28 July 2022. It features 22 lots of Agatha Christie collectible first edition books. One lot has two books, so there are a total of 23 first editions available – mostly US firsts but a few UK firsts.


The books were issued from 1923 to 1948 (mostly the 1930s) – so they are all earlier, scarcer editions. A live floor auction (online and absentee bidding available) for Lots 45001-45243 will be held at 11:00 AM Central Time (US), on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. There are three Christie lots in the live auction.


The following day, 28 July, sees an internet only session for Lots 45244-4554, also beginning at 11:00 AM Central Time (US). The remaining 19 Christie lots are in the internet auction.

The buyer’s premium is 25% on the hammer price. We are not reflecting any of the current bids as they are irrelevant at this time as most of the bidding action will occur a few days prior to the auction and the day of. To see recent auction prices realized for similar books please visit our price guide (link: click here).


The Live Auction Lots:


Lot 45146: The Mysterious Mr. Quin. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1930.

First American edition. Octavo. 290 pages. Publisher's pink cloth stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Somewhat skewed, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed, spine and edges sunned. Illustrated endpapers, top edge trimmed and stained green, other edges rough-trimmed; a few small pencil notations (some effaced) to front and rear endpapers. Internally generally clean and tight; a few pages creased at the corners, text block edges toned with minor wear. Dust jacket featuring publisher's decorative clip and priced $2.00; moderate edgewear, chipping to the head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, spine and back panel sunned, somewhat rubbed. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comment: A wonderful art deco design that still connects the design elements to Dodd Mead's jackets from the late 1920s.


Lot 45147: Peril at End House. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1932.

First American edition. Octavo. 270 pages. Publisher's light brown cloth stamped in red; original illustrated dust jacket. Minor edgewear, head and foot of spine panel pushed. Beige endpapers; penciled bookseller notations to the front endpapers. Internally clean and tight; text block edges toned with minor wear. Dust jacket unclipped ($2.00); minor edgewear, minor chipping to head and foot of spine and corners, toned, somewhat rubbed and soiled, 1.5-inch closed tear to the spine panel. Near fine book with very good dust jacket. CC Comments: Within the last five years this book has gone from fairly ubiquitous and affordable to now very scarce in collector quality condition. Again, a lovely art deco inspired jacket from the Dodd Mead art department.


Lot 45148: Sad Cypress. London: The Crime Club, Collins, [1940].

First edition. Octavo. 252, [4, publisher's advertisements] pages. Publisher's orange cloth stamped in black; married dust jacket. Skewed, corners rubbed, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Cream endpapers; light offsetting. Internally generally clean; a few gutters overextended, text block lightly toned with minor edgewear and soiling. Dust jacket unclipped (8' 3); minor edgewear, lightly rubbed. Very good book with near fine dust jacket. CC Comments: One of the few jackets known to have been preliminarily designed by Agatha Christie herself.


The Internet Only Lots:


Lot 45323: The Hound of Death and Other Stories. London: Odhams Press Ltd., [1933].

First edition. Octavo. 247, [1, blank] pages. Publisher's maroon cloth, spine stamped in gilt; original illustrated dust jacket. Corners just bumped, minor edgewear, spine sunned, head and foot of spine pushed, gilt on spine darkened, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Cream endpapers; small penciled bookseller's notation to the front free endpaper recto, light foxing. Internally clean and tight; somewhat foxed but chiefly to margins and edges, minor text block edgewear, top edge darkened. Dust jacket unclipped but with no price listed; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners, 28 mm closed tear to the bottom edge of the front panel, 30 mm closed tear to the spine fold at the back panel, rubbed and somewhat soiled, tears and head and foot of spine panel reinforced on verso with cellotape. Very good book with very good dust jacket. A collection of short supernatural stories from one of the detective fiction greats, part supernatural and part mystery, and featuring a particularly bright dust jacket. Barron, Horror, 3-49; Bleiler, Supernatural, 377. From the Gary Munson Collection. CC Comments: While the true first of this collection, the later Collins version in a jacket is much scarcer.


Lot 45410: The Murders on the Links. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1923.

True first edition, submitted to the Library of Congress and reviewed in the The New York Times several weeks ahead of the London edition. Octavo. 298 pages. Publisher's green cloth ruled in blind and lettered in orange; lacking original dust jacket. Minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed, spine sunned, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Endpapers toned, minor foxing and thumbsoiling. Internally generally clean and tight; somewhat foxed, text block lightly toned along margins and edges, minor text block edgewear and soiling. Good. CC Comments: In our article on true firsts, we debated whether this was the true first - a position Heritage is clearly taking.


Lot 45411: The Secret of Chimneys. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, [1925].

First edition. Octavo. 306, [2, publisher's advertisements] pages. Publisher's light blue cloth stamped in black; facsimile dust jacket. Skewed, corners just bumped, minor edgewear, spine sunned, head and foot of spine pushed, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Endpapers toned. Internally generally clean and tight; text block edges toned with minor wear and foxing. Very good. CC Comments: Acquiring one of the original six Bodley Head published firsts is generally on the wish list for all Christie collectors and this is likely the more affordable of them. Jacketed Bodley Heads essentially never appear for sale.


Lot 45412: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. London: W. Collins Sons & Co., [1926].

First edition. Octavo. 312 pages. Publisher's navy cloth stamped in red-orange; facsimile dust jacket. Skewed, corners bumped and rubbed, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed and somewhat worn, lightly rubbed. Cream endpapers; offsetting, front hinge repaired. Internally generally clean and tight; minor scattered soiling, a few pages creased at corners, text block edges toned with minor wear. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone. CC Comments: Arguably another 'must have' in any collection.


Lot 45413: The Mystery of the Blue Train. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1928.

First American edition. Octavo. 306 pages. Publisher's blue cloth stamped in blind and orange; original illustrated dust jacket. Minor edgewear, corners bumped, head and foot of spine pushed, spine sunned, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Cream endpapers, top edge trimmed and stained orange, other edges rough-trimmed; minor foxing, front hinge repaired. Internally generally clean and tight; minor scattered soiling, text block toned along margins and edges with minor wear and soiling, top stain faded. Dust jacket unclipped ($2.00); moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, spine sunned, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comments: The most commonly available jacketed Dodd Mead book from the 1920s and even early 1930s. Sadly the art department didn't excel on this cover. The Grosset reprint is perhaps a better design.


Lot 45414: The Murder at the Vicarage. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1930.

First American edition. Octavo. 319 pages. Publisher's green cloth stamped in dark green; original illustrated dust jacket. Corners just bumped, spine and edges sunned, head and foot of spine pushed. Illustrated endpapers. Internally clean and tight; light scattered foxing chiefly to edges, text block edges toned with minor wear and soiling. Dust jacket unclipped ($2.00); moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, toned, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comment: Another lapse in the art department at Dodd Mead after such wonderful covers such as The Seven Dials Mystery, Partners in Crime and The Mysterious Mr. Quin. Used to be more common, now becoming scarce.


Lot 45415: The Murder at Hazelmoor. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1931.

First American edition. Octavo. 308 pages. Publisher's orange cloth stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Corners just bumped, spine and edges sunned, head and foot of spine pushed, small dampstain to the upper board. Illustrated endpapers; toned, minor foxing. Internally clean and tight; light scattered foxing chiefly to edges, text block edges toned with minor wear. Dust jacket featuring publisher's decorative clip and priced $2.00; minor edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, toned, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comment: UK title: The Sittaford Mystery.


Lot 45416: The Witness for the Prosecution. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., [1932]

First edition; this collection was not published in the U.K. Octavo. 272 pages. Publisher's gray cloth stamped in red; original illustrated dust jacket. Minor edgewear, foot of spine pushed, head of spine chipped with a few millimeters lost, lightly rubbed. Cream endpapers. Internally clean and tight; text block edges toned with minor wear. Dust jacket unclipped ($2.50); moderate edgewear, worming to the head and foot of spine and edges with some losses, spine sunned, light dampstaining, creased closed tear to the front panel affecting title and closed on verso with cellotape, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Very good book with good dust jacket. While several of these stories appeared in other Agatha Christie collections, this particular collection was only published in the U.S. CC Comments: Currently an error in their listing – this book was issued in 1948. A scarce collection that appeals to UK as well as US collectors.


Lot 45417: The Hound of Death and Other Stories. London: Odhams Press Ltd., [1933].

First edition. Octavo. 247 pages. Publisher's maroon cloth, spine stamped in gilt; original illustrated dust jacket. Corners just bumped, minor edgewear, spine sunned, head and foot of spine pushed, gilt on spine darkened. Cream endpapers; penciled bookseller's notation to the front free endpaper recto. Internally generally clean and tight; light scattered foxing chiefly to edges, minor text block edgewear. Dust jacket unclipped but with no price listed; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners, several creased closed tears to edges, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Very good book and dust jacket. Barron, Horror, 3-49; Bleiler, Supernatural, 377. CC Comments: Will be interesting to see how this compares to lot 45323 which is in better condition but not included in this part of the auction with this block of Christie books.


Lot 45418: Thirteen at Dinner & Death on the Nile. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1933-1938.

First American editions. Thirteen at Dinner. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1933. First American edition. [Together with]: Death on the Nile. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1938. First American edition. Octavo. Publisher's cloth; original illustrated dust jackets. Minor edgewear, corners just bumped, head and foot of spine pushed. Internally generally clean and tight; a few pencil notations to endpapers, light scattered foxing, text block edges toned with minor wear and foxing. Thirteen dust jacket price-clipped, Nile dust jacket unclipped ($2.00); moderate edgewear, chipping and creasing to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Very good books with good dust jackets. CC Comment: UK title of Thirteen at Dinner is Lord Edgware Dies. CC Comments: Very odd choice of Heritage to pair these two together. While DOTN's jacket isn't in the best condition, there's a strong market for that title. TAD is also a fairly scarce jacketed book to find.


Lot 45419: Murder in Three Acts. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1934.

First edition. Octavo. 279, [1] pages. Publisher's orange cloth stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Somewhat skewed, corners just bumped, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed, boards and spine lightly discolored. Illustrated endpapers, top edge trimmed and stained orange, other edges rough-trimmed; minor scattered foxing, ink gift inscription to the front free endpaper verso and first leaf recto. Internally generally clean and tight; somewhat foxed, top stain faded, minor text block edgewear. Dust jacket price-clipped; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with losses and creasing, somewhat rubbed. Very good book with good dust jacket. CC Comment: UK title Three Act Tragedy. While the jacket is flawed this has become a very difficult jacket to find without chunks of the spine missing.


Lot 45420: Mr. Parker Pyne Detective. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1934.

First American edition. Octavo. 244, [2] pages. Publisher's bright orange cloth stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Corners rubbed, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed. Illustrated endpapers, top edge trimmed and stained orange, other edges rough-trimmed; minor offsetting. Internally clean and tight; light scattered foxing and soiling, text block edges toned with minor wear. Dust jacket unclipped ($2.00); moderate edgewear, toned, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses affecting text on the spine, somewhat rubbed and worn. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comment: UK title Parker Pyne Investigates.


Lot 45421: Murder in Mesopotamia. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1936.

First American edition. Octavo. 298 pages. Publisher's aqua cloth stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Skewed, corners rubbed, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed, minor soiling along joints. Tan endpapers; unevenly toned, minor soiling. Internally clean and tight; light scattered soiling, text block edges with minor wear and soiling. Dust jacket unclipped ($2.00); minor edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, toned, 4-inch closed tear crossing the spine, since repaired, somewhat rubbed. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comments: The spine is usually very faded on this book as the ink didn't age well in sun. This is surprisingly bright.


Lot 45422: Death on the Nile. New York: Dodd, Mead, & Co., 1938.

First American edition, first state dust jacket. Octavo. 326 pages. Publisher's terra cotta pictorial cloth, decorated and lettered in black; original first state illustrated dust jacket with "Dodd, Mead & Company" listed at the foot of the spine panel. Corners just bumped, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed and somewhat worn, light soiling to the upper board and spine. Cream endpapers, top edge trimmed and stained black, other edges rough trimmed; foxed, bookseller notations (some effaced) and ink ownership stamp to the front free endpaper recto. Internally generally clean and tight; light scattered foxing chiefly to edges, text block edges toned with wear. Dust jacket featuring publisher's decorative clip and priced $2.00; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, somewhat foxed and rubbed. Very good book with good dust jacket. CC Comments: Well it won't garner the top dollar seen for this book at a prior HA sale, but this is still highly collectible even with its flaws. You could wait for very good or better jacket... but it may not show up for years.


Lot 45423: The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1939.

First edition. Octavo. 229 pages. Publisher's bright orange cloth stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed. Illustrated endpapers, fore-edge rough-trimmed, other edges trimmed, top edge stained orange. Internally generally clean and tight; minor scattered soiling, minor text block edgewear. Dust jacket featuring publisher's decorative clip and priced $2.00; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses and creasing, 2-inch closed tear to the front panel but not affecting text, somewhat rubbed. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comments: Very scarce and highly collectible in a jacket. Also appeals to UK collectors as their is no equivalent from Collins.


Lot 45424: Murder for Christmas. A Poirot Story. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1939.

First American edition. Octavo. 272 pages. Publisher's black cloth stamped in green; original illustrated dust jacket. Corners bumped, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed. Cream endpapers, top edge trimmed and stained green, other edges rough-trimmed; light foxing, ink ownership to the front free endpaper recto. Internally generally clean and tight; a few pencil notations to page 272, light scattered foxing, minor text block edgewear. Dust jacket featuring publisher's decorative clip and priced $2.00; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, spine sunned, somewhat rubbed and soiled, edges reinforced on verso with cellotape. Very good book with good dust jacket. CC Comments: A fairly tatty good only jacket but a book that is getting harder to find.


Lot 45425: Evil Under the Sun. London: Crime Club, Collins, [1941].

First edition. Octavo. 252, [4] pages. Publisher's bright orange cloth, spine stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Corners bumped, minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed, dampstaining to spine, edges sunned. Cream endpapers, effaced pencil notations, miniscule ink notation to the rear pastedown. Internally generally clean and tight; somewhat foxed, chiefly to edges, minor text block edgewear. Dust jacket price-clipped; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, spine sunned with some dampstaining, somewhat rubbed and soiled. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comments: The last of the thick Collins books before wartime rationing kicked in. Also, this has generally been the 'bridge' book between what collectors rationalize as affordable Collins firsts and the unaffordable.


Lot 45426: Evil Under the Sun. New York: Dodd, Mead, & Co., 1941.

First American edition. Octavo. 260 pages. Publisher's aqua cloth lettered in dark blue; original illustrated dust jacket. Minor edgewear, corners rubbed, foot of spine pushed and worn, small closed tear to the head of the spine, spine sunned, somewhat rubbed. Endpapers toned, top and bottom edges trimmed, fore-edge rough trimmed, top edge stained yellow. Internally generally clean and tight; text block edges toned with minor wear. Dust jacket featuring publisher's decorative clip and prices $2.00; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, spine sunned, somewhat rubbed and soiled, small open tear affecting the final "A" in "Agatha" on the front panel. Very good book with good dust jacket.


Lot 45427: N or M? London: Crime Club, Collins, 1941.

First edition. Octavo. 192 pages. Publisher's bright orange cloth, spine stamped in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Minor edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed, edges sunned. Cream endpapers; bookseller's ticket to the front pastedown, effaced pencil notations. Internally generally clean and tight; light scattered foxing, minor text block edgewear. Dust jacket price-clipped; moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with minor losses, somewhat rubbed and worn, spine sunned. Very good book and dust jacket. CC Comments: As Christie's name becomes more dominant, the art design goes downhill! For a book that was very affordable in jacket a few years ago, this has become much pricier recently as supplies dry up.


Summary:

While the very rare and scarce early collectibles are not in this auction, there are still some wonderful books here that many collections will be missing. Early Dodd Mead books continue to gain in value and represent excellent value in most cases when compared to Collins editions. In fact, given the state of the world's financial markets, owning blue chip collectibles such as Agatha Christie first editions is a lot more enjoyable was to invest - at least one can also enjoy them on your shelf! As to buying at an auction, don't let it be intimidating. It's a great way to acquire a collectible book well below retail. Register with the auction house well in advance, read their shipping details, understand the extra costs such as the buyer's premium, and then calculate how much you are willing to bid.


Last Article: Our last article written was on true firsts from the early 1950s. If you didn't have time to read it when published, the link is here.

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