In our last review of eBay sales, we looked at some of the more expensive Christie collectibles sold over the months of April and May. Today we go back to a more traditional monthly review of sales of Christie collectibles across the global eBay sites. Our goal is to share items that provide insights into the market for Christie collectibles – from elusive first editions, to later printings and other Christie related items. We also examine affordable collectibles as well as the pricey ones.
For every item we have profiled 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 = $1.25 US = $1.80 AUS Verification of products or descriptions are not done by Collecting Christie but are taken at face value. Each item cited below begins with the seller’s description followed by our comments.
Television and Film:
[Television] Signed stationary, Thames Television (c.1977).
Sold for £35 with 4 bids. Seller Comments: Agatha Christie Cast on Thames TV Paper Signed Album Page Autographed Peter Ustinov, Angela Landsbury, Mia Farrow and Petula Clark.
CC Comments: This is likely from the ‘This is Your Life’ episode on Peter Ustinov that aired in November 1977. The signatures, including Ustinov’s are all actors from the filming of Death on the Nile that had just wrapped earlier that year (though was released in 1978).
Two 16mm Films: 1970s
[Film] Murder on the Orient Express, 16mm film print, Paramount, US (1974).
Sold for $199 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: The letterbox print is in nice shape, with no vinegar. Color is turning, but there’s still some color present. Sound is excellent (see comments below next item).
[Film] Death on the Nile, 16mm film print, Paramount, US (1978).
Sold for $199 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: This is an excellent 16mm color and letterbox print in top shape, with no major splices and no vinegar. In fact, it can never get vinegar, because it’s printed on mylar (polyester) stock. Color is warming, sound is excellent. This is the complete full length picture.
CC Comments: Original film reels are not something we’ve explored before, but prior to the advent of VHS and DVDs this was the format for those who had home projection systems. Whether they are collectibles or not I don’t yet know, but they are great novelty items for nostalgic evenings.
[Theatre] Signed Prop, The Mousetrap, London, UK (2022-23).
Sold for £24 with 4 bids. Seller Comments: 70th Anniversary Show prop newspaper used in show! Signed by 70th anniversary cast.
CC Comments: What fun and likely very well bought. Theatre memorabilia related to Christie plays is great fun to collect and still generally affordable.
A Selection of Books:
The Listerdale Mystery, Collins, London, UK (1934).
Sold for £215 with 10 bids. Seller Comments: Condition is good for age, minor board marking, worn spine ends, small black mark on contents page, staining on rear pastedown otherwise unmarked pages.
CC Comments: One of two titles published by Collins – but in their Mystery imprint, not the Crime Club despite being after using that branding for prior Christie books. Parker Pyne Investigates was the other title - both were considered not traditional crime books consistent with the Crime Club branding. Both the first printings came in this plum cloth with silver lettering. This was fairly priced for its condition – which was ‘good’. They are quite uncommon, especially in very good condition or better.
Death in the Clouds, Collins Crime Club, London, UK (1935) - 2nd Ed.
Sold for £133 with 12 bids. Seller Comments: Second UK Edition. The book is in very good condition. Contents are complete, clean and tight. Text block edges are slightly dusty. No marks or inscriptions. Red boards are clean and bright. Slight wear to the spine ends.
CC Comments: Published in the same month as the first printing – June 1935 – this is an affordable way to acquire a vintage Collins. Given the verification of the same print month, it implies the first printing was far to small to meet demand making that book likely part of a small print run and thus explaining why a true first is hard to find for this title.
Death on the Nile, Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, USA (1938).
Sold for $295 with 2 bids. Seller Comments: Bound in dark orange cloth with black lettering and design to front panel; black lettering to spine; in facsimile dust jacket. Book is in very good plus condition with minor light staining to boards; wear to foot and crown of spine; spine lean.
CC Comments: Facsimile jackets can easily be acquired, so this is the price for just the book – which despite the 1937 copyright was printed in February 1938. The cloth was quite faded, so a fair price for a book that remains highly in demand and would command ten times this if in a very good original jacket. Of note, there was another sold, also with a facsimile jacket – but it was a copy of a worn jacket so at first blush it looked authentic. It sold for £675 as a Buy It Now and while the cloth was better, I sadly fear the buyer thought the jacket was real as this was well overpriced. Read the descriptions fully!
Poirot Investigates, The Bodley Head, London, UK (1941).
Sold for $275 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Dust jacket has damage. Book cover is faded.
CC Comments: A later reprint but with cover art that was used on the earlier reprints from the late 1920s – not the original first edition artwork. Strong money was realized her for this book affirming demand for reprints - especially those evoking earlier printings - is still high.
Taken at the Flood, Collins Crime Club, London, UK (1948).
Sold for $360 with 24 bids. Seller Comments: Dust jacket has wear and discoloration. First British edition.
CC Comments: Affirming where the market is for a late 40s first in 'true very good' condition with a complete jacket – not priced clipped (shows 8s 6d net) and no chipping. Bright orange cloth. A very collectible copy with values starting to creep up. Well bought.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans & The Mystery of the Blue Train, Collins Crime Club, London, UK (1950/1951).
Sold for £58 with 2 bids. Seller Comments: Condition is good for age, dj rips, front inscription, age spots on page block and tanned pages.
CC Comments: A very affordable way to get just jacket art that is similar to the original artwork for the first editions. Given that the true first printings in jackets for both of these books would now be likely over £10,000 each, this is a realistic solution for many collectors.
A Comparison of Magazines
To help illustrate how condition affects pricing, consider the two magazines below - both selling in June. The first sale once can see creasing to the cover and a larger stain, plus significant rust from the staples. The second shows (which sold for approximately double) has foxing to the cover, but no folding, and has brighter pages and less rust.
[Magazine] The Nemean Lion, The Strand, London, UK (1939).
First Sale (above): Sold for £44 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: This is the November 1939 issue featuring Hercule Poirot on the front cover, and contains the Poirot Story “The Nemean Lion” illustrated by Ernest Ratcliff. The covers have some noticeable wear, the spine has been strengthened with acid free archival tape, noticeable staining to rear cover, internally the staples have heavily rusted and have caused the first few pages to come loose from the binding, some marking to page edges, and staining and wear to rear cover and last page, else in acceptable condition.
Second Sale (above): Sold for $150 (AU$) as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Good overall. Cover wraps have general usage wear and some spotting to extremities. Pages inside have general markings and wear with some scattered spotting, heaver towards front and end pages. Rust around staples area.
CC Comments: Given that this is the true first appearance of this story, and has an illustrated interpretation of Poirot, this edition is very collectible. The second sale was in significantly better shape, showing how meaningfully prices can vary for quality. There’s still a lot of upside in these magazines as it’s a less collected medium for most Christie fans and thus there is still a fair amount of supply still available. The day will come when the supply dries up and prices escalate.
Agatha Christie related items continue to be viewed as blue chip collectibles with a broad base of interested parties. Many items are very valuable and command high prices so 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.
The International Agatha Christie Festival: September 2023.
If you enjoy our articles on Collecting Christie, then you may want to join me for a ‘Collecting Christie Live!’ event at the 2023 International Agatha Christie Festival. I will be presenting at 3pm on Friday 15th September (yes – Christie’s birthday!) at the Spanish Barn, Torre Abbey, Torquay, Devon UK. My presentation will be about Christie’s stage plays, with insights into collecting playscripts, programmes and other theatre memorabilia. Tickets are required with proceeds supporting the Festival’s Charity. For more details click here.
I hope to see many of you there and at the other wonderful events throughout the festival.
As always… Happy hunting!
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