AUCTION REVIEW: Heritage Auctions: 29-30 November-2023
Updated: Nov 30
The "Rare Books Signature Auction" at Heritage (US) was held at the end of November features nine Agatha Christie books. Seven were sold on the 29th and two on the 30th. Auction link. Below are the original preview comments but I have now added the realised sale prices at Heritage Auctions (HA)- all in US dollars since held in the States.
Surprisingly eight of the nine of these books were sold last year in the "Spring Fine Sale" held by Gorringe's in the UK on 8 March 2022 which contained numerous Agatha Christie lots which were last sold at the 2006 Greenway sale. I have shown the prior hammer price realised at that 2022 sale for reference.
Given that this is the third time these books have appeared at auction (Greenway, Gorringes and now Heritage), they have clearly struggled to find a permanent home. It is fair to assume they were purchased by a dealer at the Gorringes sale and either due to the strong prices realised at the Charlie Watts sale or just a need to clean out inventory is now seeking to a quick resale. While many of these lots offer bidders the chance to obtain high quality autographs - many of them personalised to family members - there are some notable flaws and they do not have the celebrity association that the Watts books did. It is unclear if any reserves have been provided to ensure recovery of the investment.
Note: Before bidding on any items, consider the buyer's premium cost which is 25%. Thus a $1,000 US item would cost the buyer $1,250 US with the premium added.
November 29th: 7 Lots: All Signed:
Lot 45229: Christie, Agatha - The Sittaford Mystery, 1st edition, front fly leaf inscribed ‘’From Agatha Christie’’, spine head and foot a little ragged, exterior joints scuffed, The Crime Club, London, 1931.
Note: Gorringes - Sold for £2,400 ($3,000 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $2,750
Lot 45230: Christie, Agatha - Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, Collins, London, UK (1934). 1st edition, presentation inscription on front free endpaper 'with love from / Agatha'. Greenway House copy.
Note: Gorringes - sold for £3,000 ($3,750 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $3,500
CC Comment: As with the prior lot, another highly appealing inscription for its simplicity, though the cloth is disappointing.
Lot 45231: Christie, Agatha - Death In The Clouds, 1st edition, front free endpaper signed 'Love from / Ange'. Greenway House copy, W. Collins for The Crime Club, London, 1935.
Note: Gorringes - sold for £2,800 ($3,500 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $3,500.
CC Comment: If my notes are correct, this book may also have a faint / indistinct signature on the fly page that appears to be 'Punkie' which was Agatha's nickname for her sister Madge. Bidders should ask for a full image of the fly pages to confirm.
Lot 45232: Christie, Agatha - The A.B.C Murders, 1st edition, front fly leaf inscribed - ‘’Once again a tale is submitted to a critic who’s most fitted to exclaim ‘’This seems to me just as plain as A.B.C’’, A.C.’’, spine sunned and bumped, The Crime Club, London, 1936.
Note: Gorringes - Sold for £6,000 ($7,500 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $9,375.
CC Comment: The top seller of the Christie's lots sold last year at Gorringes - appropriately so as Christie rarely wrote much when inscribing books. This has depth to the comments making it a wonderful collectible despite the cloth.
Lot 45233: Christie, Agatha - A Murder Is Announced, 1st edition, presentation inscription on front free endpaper 'With love from / Agatha / June 1950', Greenway House copy, W. Collins for The Crime Club, London, 1950.
Note: Gorringes - sold for £1,700 ($2,125 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $4,750.
CC Comments: Since the Gorringes sale, an incorrect later state dust jacket has been married to this book (adds no meaningful value). The 'month' pre-1950 is hard to tell but seems to lack the 'b' of 'Feb' which was the month of publication - so perhaps it was signed later in the year.
Lot 45234: Christie, Agatha - A Pocket Full of Rye,1st edition, dust jacket, indistinct presentation inscription on front free endpaper 'For xxxx / with love from / Agatha / Nov. 1953', Greenway House copy, W. Collins for The Crime Club, London, 1953.
Note: Gorringes - sold for £1,800 ($2,250 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $3,000.
CC Comments: Appears to be dated 'Nov' which was the month it was first published. Contemporaneous signatures are certainly more appealing than later ones. The jacket is also priced clipped.
Lot 45235: Christie, Agatha - Hickory Dickory Dock, 1st edition, dust wrapper, presentation inscription on front free endpaper 'For James / with love from / Agatha / Oct.1955'.Greenway House copy, W. Collins for The Crime Club, London 1955.
Note: Gorringes - sold for £1,900 ($2,375 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $3,500.
CC Comment: Likely inscribed to either Christie's brother-in-law or nephew, both named James Watts. The jacket is correctly priced 10s 6d.
November 30th - 2 Lots:
Lot 45492: Christie, Agatha - The Listerdale Mystery, 1st edition, front fly leaf inscribed ‘’To C.T [Dr. Reginald Campbell Thompson, Oxford professor of Assyriology (1876-1941)] from Agatha Christie, spine sunned, back board mildewed, Collins, London, 1934.
Note: Gorringes - sold for £2,200 ($2,750 US). HA: Final Sale Price: $4,250.
CC Comments: One of the uncommon 'Collins' books (not Crime Club), but sadly the book is in poor condition. Given its association to the dedicatee of 'Lord Edgware Dies' and a family friend, it is still appealing.
Lot 45493: Christie, Agatha - Evil Under the Sun. London: Crime Club, Collins, . First edition. Octavo. 252,  pages. Publisher's bright orange cloth, spine stamped in black. Price clipped dust jacket.
Note: This book was not part of the Gorringes sale. HA: Final Sale Price: $1.250.
CC Comments: A jacket that is becoming quite challenging to find, and while this one is price clipped it is still appealing as it somewhat marks the end of an era of the thicker Collins books.
If you have any additions or corrections to email me at: email@example.com
If you are not yet a subscriber to my website, please consider subscribing. This will ensure you receive an email each time I publish a new article. To enroll please click this link and provide your email. In addition, consider following me on 'X' (formerly Twitter) (@collectchristie) and on Facebook (collectchristie). Slightly different content is offered in both locations.