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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

AUCTION: Forum Auctions UK - ends 15th Feb 2024

Updated: Feb 15

Updated 15 Feb 2024 with realised sales prices excluding the 26% buyers premium.


Forum Auctions in London, UK is holding an online sale of “Modern Literature, Children's and Illustrated Books” that ends on 15th February 2024. It features 270 lots generally being sold alphabetically. There are 10 lots with Agatha Christie books, though several lots contain multiple books some of which are not Christies. In total there are 56 Christie books for sale.  While many of the books are reprints or unjacketed, there are a few gems in the auction that should interest any Christie collector.


The buyer’s premium is 26% of the hammer price.  We are not reflecting any of the current bids as they are irrelevant at this time as most of the bidding action will likely occur a few days prior and day of.  To see recent auction prices realized for Agatha Christie books please visit our price guide (link: click here). Forum Auctions does allow viewing of the lots by appointment only. Please visit their website (link) for details on the auction or for requesting an appointment. Note that Forum Auctions has provided very little detail about these books because they are more affordable collectibles. If a lot interests you contact them promptly to request the information you need to make an informed bid.


The Online Auction Lots:


Lot 29: Christie (Agatha) The Secret of Chimneys, reprint, 1927. Estimate: £200 - £300

CC Comments: Since the auction house states this is the 1927 printing the book is the 'popular edition'.  However, the jacket is from the ‘cheap edition’ which was published later – likely the 1936 printing.  The correct jacket for the popular edition is priced 3/6 with art by Wyndham Payne.  This 2/6 jacket, with a reproduction of the first edition’s cover by Percy Graves, also appears to have been trimmed across the top to better fit this book – but very poorly done.  Estimate is likely fair. Price Realised: £340.00

 

Lot 30: The Mysterious Mr. Quin, first separate edition, [c.1930]. Estimate: £200 - £300

CC Comments: This is a rare and uncommon paperback that will garner plenty of interest. This Collins 6d paperback is No. 174.  Since the Collins 6d printing of The Seven Dials Mystery was No. 163 and was published in March 1934, it’s fair to estimate the publication date of this book as April – June 1934. It is potentially the first paperback of this title, though there was a smaller format 1 shilling printing that had the same cover art as the hardback first edition. The sequence of publication is unknown and both appear to have been published in the early 1930s. The book on offer is of a condition that appears very good for its age. I expect it will sell above the high estimate as it will appeal to a number of collectors. Price Realised: £260.00

 

Lot 31: The Hound of Death and Other Stories, first edition, 1933 & 15 others. Estimate: £100 - £150.

CC Comments: Solely from viewing the spines, these all appear to be reprints (with the exception of The Hound of Death per the listing). There are a couple of interesting books here that pique my curiosity. The Sittaford Mystery with its black cloth is likely the 2nd imprint from January 1932 rather than a black-cloth shod export edition of the first as they likely would have noted that.  This is the most collectible of the books in this grouping and justifies the price estimate. The Partners in Crime is likely the 1937 edition given it has been rebranded as a Crime Club novel and has orange cloth.  The Murder on the Orient Express and Peril at End House both have the simpler ‘Collins’ at the foot of the spine implying these were probably originally ‘uniform edition’ printings from circa 1940.

Price Realised: £240.00

 

Lot 32: The Body in the Library, New York, 1942 & 6 others, American editions. Estimate: £150 - £200.

CC Comments: Most are Grosset and Dunlap unjacketed reprints with little value. The Murder at the Vicarage is potentially a first US printing, though the spine is heavily faded. The Body in the Library and Easy to Kill are likely Grosset reprints in a Grosset jackets as not noted otherwise. Forum Auctions is well enough informed to be able to identify a first in jacket as quite valuable and so I would expect them to have done so if it was. This lot may not reach the estimate. Price Realised: £180.00

 

Lot 33: Towards Zero, first edition, 1944 & others, mixed modern literature (8). Estimate: £200 - £300.

CC Comments: This lot only has the one Christie in it – but several J.D. Carr novels though they are likely reprints. The jacket spine for Towards Zero has some meaningful chips on it and is soiled. However, this is still a very collectible book and ‘affordable’ when compared to the books printed in the years prior to this. Consequently, this lot will likely reach close to the high estimate. However, if interested in bidding, it would be worth asking if the jacket is priced or priced clipped. If correctly priced the book is more appealing.

Price Realised: £280.00

 

Lot 34: They Do It With Mirrors, first edition, 1952 & another first edition. Estimate: £150 - £200.

CC Comments: Dead Man’s Folly is the second book and appears to have a fairly complete spine. No comment about whether jackets are still priced or clipped. The loss to the bottom of the spine on ‘Mirrors’ is a shame. Combined, likely worth the low estimate at best.

Price Realised: £100.00

 

Lot 35: They Do It With Mirrors, first edition, 1952; and c. 40 others. Estimate: £150 - £200.

CC Comments: There are a total of 5 Christie books here – though the other four are essentially reading copies. The value in this lot is likely in the non-Christie H&S paperbacks so I doubt any Christie collector will be bidding here. Price Realised: £190.00


Lot 36: The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, first edition, 1960. Estimate: £100 - £150.

CC Comments: What appears to be a rather nice copy of the book given its apparent ‘very good’ jacket. A bidder should confirm it is not price clipped.  However, given the buyer’s premium that must also be paid, I doubt this will exceed the low estimate as it is still a fairly common book. Price Realised: £150.00


Lot 37: A Caribbean Mystery, first edition, 1964 & others, many first edit. Estimate: £200 - £300.

CC Comments: There are potentially 11 Christie first editions in this lot. While they are all later novels and thus more affordable, this is a great way to quickly acquire a lot of her newer books for someone just starting to build a collection.  Of note, The Clocks appears to have a mostly complete jacket which is uncommon as this paper was exceptionally prone to tears that led to loss or significant chipping. For omnibus collectors (something I recently wrote about - link), there are several in this lot also. Consequently, I expect this to sell above the high estimate. Price Realised: £160.00

 

Lot 38: 6 vol., one of 350 copies, signed by Rosalind Hicks, 1990. Estimate: £300 - £400.

CC Comments: This limited edition set of six Agatha Christie books was published in September 1990. The collection was curated by Christie’s daughter, Rosalind Hicks, who stated they were selected because they were amongst her mother’s favourites. The volumes were bound by the Collins in half leather, with gilt on the page edges and marbled endpapers. They were sold as a box set in a red leather slip case with marbled sides. Each set is numbered from an edition of 350 and signed by Rosalind Hicks on the fly sheet of the first volume. It’s a rather appealing collection for any Christie collector despite being reprints. There was a set of these that sold at auction a few years ago for just below the low estimate here, and retail copies typically sell for double the low estimate. For more details about this set, click this link to an article I previously wrote about them. I expect this lot will sell within the estimate. Price Realised: £240.00

 

Summary:

While there are a lot of affordable and fairly common books for sale here, for me the most appealing is Lot 30. It’s a scarce collectible paperback and the star of this minor auction. Lot 29 offers an early jacket that will likely be very affordable. Lot 33 has some appeal as Towards Zero is starting to become less affordable for most collectors and books from the 1940s start to move to a higher price point.  Lastly, I’ll be curious to see if demand for the Hicks editions in Lot 38 are garnering more interest than they have in years past. Certainly, this is not an auction anywhere near as unique as the Charlie Watts auction of 2023, but there is a far wider range of hobbyists, readers and Christie fans for whom affordable collectibles are the backbone of their collections. Thus, this auction should appeal to many.


 If you have any questions about collecting, Agatha Christie or auctions, please email me at: collectchristie@gmail.com  


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Happy Hunting!

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