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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

2023 March: Affordable eBay Agatha Christie Collectibles.

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

While we took a break reviewing eBay sales in February, our review for March 2023 is taking a slightly different approach. This article will focus on ‘affordable collectibles’ – single items priced £20 or less (essentially the price of a new hardback book) that we believe are worth adding to a collection. Attributes that are considered include growing scarcity, uniqueness, a strong representative piece for that period or appreciation potential.


While there continued to be plenty of first edition books and other collectibles that traded hands for prices well in excess of £100, sadly there were numerous high priced “signed” items, most of which appeared to be forgeries. We strongly encourage anyone considering buying a signed item to read our article “Fake or Fortune” so that you can be more confident in making your own assessment about the authenticity of the signature. Also, if a seller states “with provenance” ask them to post images of the provenance so that you can review it. Solid provenance should prove the chain of ownership directly back to when Christie applied the signature. Likewise, a ‘Certificate of Authenticity’ is often worthless unless from a highly respected firm or book seller.


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 = €1.15 = $1.20 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.


Affordable Collectible Books:


Cat Among the Pigeons, Fontana, London, UK (1962).

Sold for £5 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: First Fontana.

CC Comments: Actually the first paperback of this title – not just the first Collins. From 1950 onwards, Fontana was the first paperback publisher in the UK of all of Christie’s titles. The covers from these 1950 editions are arguably underappreciated with their great period feel. However, as first paperbacks they currently are very affordable long-term collectibles. Many other first Fontana paperbacks from this period sold in the last 60 days in this price range.


Crooked House, Pocket Books, New York, USA (1973).

Sold for $9.97 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: In used/vintage/acceptable condition. Slight tanning to pages. Spine is slightly askew but all pages are intact.

CC Comments: While Tom Adams is well known for his Fontana paperback covers in the 1960s and 1970s, he was also commissioned by Pocket Books in the US to create 26 covers from 1971 to 1974. Most of them have a wraparound design where the image covers the front panel, spine and rear panel. These larger space afforded Adams the opportunity to provide much more artistic narrative content. These books are getting harder to find in collectible condition and in our opinion are highly desirable.


Elephants Can Remember, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1972).

Sold for £20 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: A near fine copy in its original; unrestored dust wrapper. No inscription, tears, loss or foxing. First UK edition. Outer red boards are unmarked. The wrapper is complete with no loss or tears. Plastic cover over outer boards. A very nice copy.

CC Comments: Confirms there are still a few first editions in jackets that can be bought for new book prices.


Sad Cypress, Collins, London, UK (1951).

Sold for £9.99 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: Book is in fair condition while the jacket is good for the year.

CC Comments: Collins reprinted many titles in the 1950s as affordable 2/- hardbacks. While the cover art is not identical to the first edition, it is stylistically similar and thus a very affordable way to build a collection of vintage Christie’s. Of note, this book is a great example of why to not always believe the references to historical printings in older books. This one states first printed in 1933 – seven years prior to its actual 1940 first printing!


Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1952).

Sold for £14.99 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: First Edition [no other impressions stated], possible candidate for rebinding. Increasingly uncommon thus, sold with flaws described / shown.

CC Comments: While the cloth had some fading and the boards some dents, the price here was very well bought. For budget collectors there is still nothing more appealing than a shelf full of first editions. How can this not be more appealing to own than a modern reprint that costs just as much. In addition to this title there were many other unjacketed firsts from this era that sold in this price range.


Other Affordable Collectibles:


[Stamps] Agatha Christie Commemorative Stamp Set, Royal Mail, UK (2016).

Sold for £14.50 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Mint, never hinged.

CC Comments: These stamps are an underrated gem. Each contains hidden clues and special attributes many don’t even know about. This includes heat sensitive ink, clues only seen with ultraviolet light and even a stamp that had an augmented reality feature. Over time, the uniqueness of these stamps will likely be more appreciated. For full details on them can be found at this link.


[Film] Evil Under the Sun, Royal Film Premiere programme, London, UK (1982).

Sold for £12.99 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: A rare opportunity to purchase this vintage programme from the Royal film performance on March 22nd, 1982. In very good condition overall. No creases, tears or loose pages.

CC Comments: A wonderful and unique piece of memorabilia that connects Agatha Christie’s works to Queen Elizabeth II. Certainly a gem to enjoy and likely quite uncommon.


[Film] Ten Little Indians, Pocket Books, New York, USA (1975).

Sold for $12.23 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Movie tie-in.

CC Comments: Many Agatha Christie films were accompanied by new releases of the associated title. This film association books are a unique niche of Christie collectibles that are great fun to look for in all their iterations.


[Film] Murder Most Foul, Lobby Poster, Mexico (1964).

Sold for AU$19.95 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: Origjnal Mexican front of house lobby poster. Printed on card 17" x 12.5" ( or 43cm x 32 cm ) and is in excellent condition.

CC Comments: At this price and with a manageable size, this would make great wall art and is rather unique. There will always be a market for film memorabilia and this seems very well bought.


[Theatre] The Mousetrap, Programme, Liverpool, UK (1952).

Sold for £10 with 2 bids. Seller Comments: This is a rarely found programme for the Mousetrap on its pre-West End tour at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool in October 1952. The company was the same at the original West End production including Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim.

CC Comments: Many of Christie’s plays toured the UK prior to landing a West End production. Securing programmes from these advance productions can be quite challenging as most were only for a few nights in each location. While this one was fairly tatty with numerous notes written on it, they are becoming very hard to find.


[Theatre] Daily Mail Newspaper, London, UK (1928).

Sold for £7 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: The Daily Mail from 12th May 1928. The paper is incomplete and very brown. Contains article about Agatha Christie watching rehearsals of ‘Alibi’ at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

CC Comments: As the first stage production of any Christie story – though this was adapted by Michael Morton – this article provides a unique insight as it confirms Christie spent the day watching Gerald Du Maurier directing the rehearsals. A moment in time, memorialized in the press. One can only imagine Christie’s blend of excitement and apprehension in advance of its premiere three days later.


[Press Photograph] David Suchet as Poirot, PBS, USA (c.1990).

Sold for $16.27 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Original 1990s PBS Promo Photograph for Poirot TV Series featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. 8x10 (inches). Condition: excellent. Photo was used for publication and has publication notes on back along with a small archive label.

CC Comments: David Suchet is beloved by many for his portrayal of Poirot. Memorabilia related to Suchet will always be in demand. Press photos such as these are limited as they were only sent out to US newspaper and magazine publishers.


[Press Photograph] Agatha Christie and Edith Evans, The Telegraph, London, UK (1968).

Sold for $15.48 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Original vintage press photo, 06/03/1968. Photo size: 203x254mm (7.99x10 inches).

CC Comments: This image is from The Telegraph's archives. The photo was of Christie attending the Foyles Literary lunch at the Dorchester celebrating Dame Edith Evans. A snapshot of an historical event and an original image used by a major newspaper. A fun collectible to own.


[Cassette Tapes] Evil Under the Sun, BBC Productions, UK (1998).

Sold for £6.29 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Full cast audio drama, 2 cassettes in very good condition.

CC Comments: Vinyl outsold CDs in 2022. Will cassette tapes come back in vogue. Regardless, these full cast BBC productions are fantastic. As opposed to an audio book with a single narrator, these are full cast productions with sound effects making them great fun. Listening on a cassette tape (assuming you still have a player) provides a great sense of period and nostalgia.


Agatha Christie Centenary mug, Stonebridge Pottery, England (1990).

Sold for £15 as a Buy It Now. Seller Comments: Vintage Stonebridge Pottery Tankard 1/2 Pint Mug. Very Good condition.

CC Comments: Numerous items were made with this centenary logo in 1990 to celebrate 100 years of Agatha Christie. Many are quite uncommon, especially in the original boxes as this is. Well bought.


Enamel Pin, 120 Years of the Queen of Crime, England (2010).

Sold for £15 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: Rare. Badge in very good condition.

CC Comments: It isn’t clear if this pin was related to any specific event or promotion, or was just an item one could buy from the gift shop at Greenway. Regardless, there have been various enamel pins created over the years related to Christie. All are appealing and hopefully the new owner can wear this proudly at the next International Agatha Christie Festival!


Summary:

Hopefully these highlights show that there is something for every budget in the world of Christie collectibles. Whether a vintage book to read, something visually appealing to adorn your wall, or a collectible to wear or use, or a unique gift for the Christie fan in your life, there is a wide range of choices for under £20.


Even at these budget levels, 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 collectchristie@gmail.com 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.


Happy hunting!


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