2020 May: Highlights of Agatha Christie Ebay sales
Continuing our monthly series on Ebay's Agatha Christie related "sales of interest", below are a few highlights and recognized prices for items sold in May. For the month well over 1,000 Christie related items changed hands on Ebay, proving it to be a robust marketplace. Of note were the two 'near fine - fine' US first editions from the 1930s that were top sales for the month. The market for US firsts appears to be gaining traction for anything pre-1940 in a near fine or better condition. While still a fraction of UK prices, they are garnering strong money and appear to be where the opportunities are currently for sellers who wish to part and buyers who are seeking blue-chip collectables. In general, Ebay is a mixed bag for collectors, often littered with misinformation, uninformed sellers and poor condition items. Occasionally real gems do show up so its often worth a periodic review of offered items. Prices shown reflect the currency used for the listing.
1930 Dodd Mead Murder at the Vicarage. First edition in original dust jacket. A fine copy. Listed for $4,400 as a 'buy it now', the actual sold price was a 'best offer'. Usually buyers get a 10-20% discount at best, so assume it likely sold for ~$3,600 - $4,000 US. Not surprisingly excellent copies of early books continue to command the best prices. Being the first Miss Marple story will always help though the jacket art is relatively uninspired. In addition US copies are still very affordable compared to UK copies, but prices are increasing.
1938 Dodd Mead Death on the Nile. First edition in original dust jacket. A fine copy. Sold with 21 bids for $2,136 (US). Continuing to reaffirm the demand for quality jackets, this book sold well with plenty of bids. Death on the Nile is surprisingly uncommon - in fact more copies of Murder at the Vicarage appear for sale over time. Compared to the UK book which would command a multiple of 10 for a similar quality book, and given the upcoming film which will reignite interest in this title, this appears well bought.
1935 The Mysterious Affair At Styles, Penguin books #6. In 1935 Penguin published 10 paperbacks - their first 10 ever - as a set. This Agatha Christie book was #6 in that set. Surprisingly two came up for auction in May, both commanded similar prices varying slightly for condition. This one sold for £166.00 (UK) with 29 bids, the other for £195 as a 'buy it now' that sold a few days earlier. Clearly the price and bidding action confirms the ongoing appeal of this first ever Christie paperback.
1990 "Covercraft" Agatha Christie First Day Cover: featuring gallantry medals, including the Victoria Cross. Postmarked Torquay using the Agatha Christie centenary logo: Sold as "Buy It Now" for £200 (UK). Listed in May, though actual sale date 5-June. A lovely high quality FDC from an important year.
Reprints: The Bodley Head: early editions set from HarperCollins. Includes the first six books with replica dust jackets and a box set sleeve. Sold with one bid for $65 (US). Given how unobtainable these books are in correct first editions - even without a jacket - this is a wonderful way to own these books. While appreciation may be limited, there will always be demand for this box set.
Montblanc Fountain Pen: Writers Edition Agatha Christie Fountain Pen 1993 Silver (30,000 stated edition), Fine Nib. Condition is Used. Sold for $1,100 (US) as a "buy it now". A surprisingly strong price for a pen that is used, has a replaced cap, serviced nib, and is unclear if it has any original packaging. Definitely appeared 'well sold' but affirms the strong demand for any of these pens near $1,000 US.
Tom Adams Agatha Christie At Bertrams Hotel Limited Edition Framed Print, dated 3/12/2016. Sold for £79.99 (UK) 'Buy it Now'. As a limited Edition Print Numbered "2/150" , this low numbers was also appealing. The artwork was used by Fontana on their UK paperback. Given that a few of Tom Adams' prints can still be purchased from his estate at prices triple this, the print was very well bought under market value.
A Murder in Announced - Fontana paperback with cover art by Ian Robinson. Sold for £22.99 as a 'buy it now'. A little shocking perhaps, but many collectors want the complete Fontana collection from this period of the mid-late 1960s. The Ian Robinson covers are often mistaken for Tom Adams covers. Since Adams was unable to do the full catalogue for Fontana during this period, Ian Robinson did 13 covers. However, some of these covers do prove rather hard to find.
A lot of Ebay volume is driven by the following: Facsimile hardbacks by HarperCollins continue to sell for $10-$20 US, while Bantam leatherette books are often $10-$15 for the common titles. Most paperbacks trade hands for $2 per item.