2022 December: 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, including books, pens, art and accessories and a pick for ‘oddity of the month’. Hopefully there’s something of interest here for everyone.
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.
The Boomerang Clue, Dodd Mead & Co, New York, USA (1935).
Sold for $516.57 with 21 bids. Seller Comments: Dust Jacket Condition: VG+, DJ spine is somewhat faded/browned, with edgewear along top/bottom; various small chips and tears. Verso of DJ spine shows staining. Book Condition: VG+, end pages are a bit browned. The front of the page block has a 1/4" circular brown stain. The red top-stain is a bit discolored near the spine. Boards are clean with some very faint discoloration to the gutters.
CC Comments: UK title: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Compared to the UK jacket which is one of our favourites from the 1930s, this is fairly uninspired. That said, well bought. Jacketed US firsts are gaining popularity and values are appreciating.
Murder in the Calais Coach, Dodd Mead & Co, New York, USA (1934).
Sold for $799 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: vg+, publisher's presentation copy #244, former owner's name on free endpaper.
CC Comments: When this book was first published, Dodd Mead & Co distributed approximately 250 numbered limited editions at an American Booksellers Association (ABA) dinner. While the exact number distributed is unknown, we have never seen a numbered copy higher than 250 and have only seen four of these be sold in the last decade or so. Well bought. A true rarity. A detailed article on collecting this book can be found here: Link.
Evil Under the Sun, Grosset & Dunlap, New York, USA (c.1944).
Sold for $141.50 with 17 bids. Seller Comments: Early reprint c.1941. Dust jacket VG+, spine has some light edgewear/bumping and some minor evidence of surface rubbing (common to this edition) at center of the spine. A few small closed tears. Book Condition VG+ Orange boards are bright with sharp corners and no damage. POI dated 1944. Very light tanning to pages.
CC Comments: There is a strong market for Grosset and Dunlap reprints that are jacketed. Collectors should avoid the Madison Square wartime versions as they used very cheap paper that browns and is brittle. The most desirable G&D reprints are those from the 1920s with the jackets that list other titles on the verso. A detailed article about G&D early reprints can be found here: Link.
Death on the Nile, Dodd Mead & Co, New York, USA (1938).
Sold for £275 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: 1st US Edition/1st Impression. Missing front free end paper, the first two pages are torn and partially attached, the second page has a tape repair; these issues need restoring correctly. The binding is a little loose but holding. Ex-Libris book plate on front paste down.
CC Comments: Incredibly strong money for a tatty ex-library US edition lacking the jacket as a buyer likely was done waiting for a better one. Patience likely would have rewarded the buyer as this title without its jacket does show for sale every so often. For collectors seeking un-jacketed Dodd Mead firsts from 1930 onwards you can be patient. Alternatively, buy what you can, upgrade and then resell the lesser book later.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, The Crime Club, Collins, London, UK (1939).
Sold for $525 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller comments: A very good copy of this book, clean, tight, no foxing , spine faded, with facsimile dust jacket. Inscribed in ink on top right of front free end paper.
CC Comments: Any pre-1940 Collins first, even without a jacket, is desirable and they are getting scarcer in VG or better condition. These books allow collectors to still build a collection of first editions but in a more affordable way. The debate is generally whether to leave them as is on the shelf or cover them in a facsimile jacket. Our bias is to cover them only to protect the orange cloth which is prone to fading.
Dumb Witness, The Albatross Crime Club, Leipzig, Germany (1938).
Sold for €70.04 with 13 bids. Seller Comments: #428, very good plus, light rubbing to spine edges, previous owner inscription (POI).
CC Comments: Lacking the scarce dust jacket, but otherwise a nice copy of this true first paperback edition of this title. Jackets add an additional 50% or more to the value. The Albatross Crime Club was the first paperback publisher for 14 Agatha Christie books so collectors should be familiar with them and their history. A detailed article on The Albatross Crime Club can be found here: Link.
Complete Set Heron Editions, London, UK (1975-1979).
Sold for $1,100 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: In a beautiful Leatherette binding, each book contains two novels with some illustrations. Plus, two bonus volumes - The Mystery of Agatha Christie and the Who’s Who – both of which are hard to find. Pages may have some yellowing or marks and the boards may have some wear.
CC Comments: While not stated, a complete set is 39 books containing novels and the 2 companion bonus volumes – thus 41 books in total. Likely a record price for this set. Other sales in December were a set of 19 books that sold for £52 with 12 bids and a set of 35 books which sold for £89.60 with 15 bids. These imply most Heron editions are only worth £2 - £3 per book. One could argue you could save a lot by acquiring cheaper piecemeal collections asthe price realized for the complete set puts the average price closer to $25 or £20 per book. We are unsure as to whether the two companion books are that uncommon to justify this bump in price or if the price was worth the time savings of one and done. Reader input welcome!
[Art] WBYK x Black Dragon Press Agatha Christie Film Prints, Set of 3 (2022).
Sold for £350 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: Some of these posters were sold via Mondo the remainder were sold through Black Dragon Press. Set of 3 x Original Agatha Christie Film Prints all numbered the same edition number for each print 116/200. Three 18” x 24” screen prints. Hand numbered. Printed by White Duck Editions. Limited edition of 200. All New and in Mint Condition.
CC Comments: These wonderful prints were inspired by the re-release of these films by StudioCanal and the original costumes and art design of them. Now sold out, the price realized here is market correct and well bought. Expect these prints to gain value over time. Full details on all of these prints and the related images by Johnny Dombowski can be found here: Link.
[Accessory] Hand-crafted Agatha Christie Handbag, UK (2022).
Sold for £49.50 with 1 bid. Seller Comments: I commissioned this handbag for a Christie event that I attended. It is made from a Heron series Agatha Christies book, that sadly had its interior pages damaged but the spine was pristine. With good sturdy handles and one interior compartment. Used only once it is in lovely condition.
CC Comments: While not a true collectible, a fun accessory for any Christie fan. Well made and something I’ll look to see who has at this year’s International Agatha Christie Festival.
Two Montblanc Pens:
Montblanc Limited Vermeil Ed. Agatha Christie Fountain Pen (1993). Sold for $4,499 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: New, unused and undamaged item in original boxes. Edition of 4,810.
Montblanc Agatha Christie Fountain Pen (1993). Sold for $3,290 as a Buy-it-Now. Seller Comments: New, unused and undamaged item in original boxes. Medium nib. Edition of 30,000.
CC Comments: Both these pens were from a highly rated established German seller of Montblanc pens. As mint examples there is little say other than this clearly established the market price today for these pens when found in this condition. Both prices are potentially records set for these pens - maybe driven by the demand for that exceptional Christmas gift. Prices seem to keep rising for these and the available stock of mint condition pens is dwindling. Certainly the vermeil pen is the cream of the crop, but all are beautiful. For full details on collecting the Montblanc Agatha Christie pens go to: Link.
Surprises of the Month:
Ten Little N’s, Fontana, London, UK (1977). Sold for £255 with 27 bids. Seller Comments: nice condition for its age, Feb 1977 Fontana 27th Impression.
CC Comments: This price makes no sense whatsoever. Truly no idea what happened here – an example of bidding gone crazy. Worth no more than 20% of the final sale price. That two additional listings of this book sold in December for £104 with 18 bids and another for £91.35 with 25 bids showed a few buyers clearly wanted to add this to their paperback collection. There were a few other Fontana Adams paperbacks that garnered atypical prices in December. Regardless, these prices are not reflective of the true value. Patience would have rewarded the buyers. For the record, this book was actually printed in March 1977, with the now highly questionable Tom Adams cover likely influenced by the popularity of golliwog collectibles distributed by Robinson’s jams and marmalades.
Oddity of the Month:
[Figure] Custom 'Agatha Christie' from Dr. Who episode The Unicorn & the Wasp, UK (c.2022).
Sold for £41.10 with 3 bids. Seller Comments: Measuring at approx. 5" tall she is in a good condition and has been custom-made to look like Agatha Christie from The Unicorn & the Wasp (S4, E7). Due to the full-body repaint, this figure is for display purposes only. Please be careful when positioning her due to accidental markings and scratches. It is sold as seen, so please look at all the photos to determine the overall condition and completeness. All the joints work well except the head and waist which are in a fixed position.
CC Comments: Bias likely exists, but the best Dr. Who episode ever with wonderful script writing that includes far too many references to book titles to name. A unique figurine for the overlapping Christie & Dr. Who fan – of which I’m aware of several.
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.
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