The Spring Fine Sale at Gorringes auction house in Lewes (UK) will be held on 8 March 2022. For Christie collectors, it contains many unique and desirable collectibles and should be reviewed promptly. While Christie related items are only a portion of their Spring Fine Sale, they are a meaningful part of it. With a broad range of both signed and unsigned books, personal signed letters in manuscript and personal items that were originally sold at the 2006 "Greenway Auction" held by Bearnes, there is arguably something here for every Christie fan and collector.
A prior article we wrote on how to assess the authenticity of signatures raised a lot of positive comments from collectors who benefitted from insights into normal traits to look for (link at the bottom of this article). The wonderful collection of Christie signed books and letters in this auction all grade as A or B and show the traits and norms we would want to see. If you've been wanting to add a signed Christie book but lacked confidence on authenticity, this auction is for you. In addition, several of the books are personal gifts to family members and inscribed as such. Any of these would be a wonderful edition to a collection. Most have estimated values of £500- £1500, plus buyer's premium and VAT. Given the prices seen in a retail environment for association copies with authentic signatures, these estimates are certainly wholesale.
A few highlights from the 12 signed books are Lot 2, a signed copy of the first printing of Dumb Witness (Collins, UK). The inscription is to "Punkie with love from Ange". To see an inscription from Agatha to her older sister, Madge, using their nicknames truly makes this a family heirloom and a collector's gem.
Another unique book is Lot 62, which is inscribed [to Dr. Reginald Campbell Thompson, Oxford Professor of Assyriology (1878-1941] with ‘’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.’’. What a wonderful piece of commentary from Christie. Again, another gem for any collector.
There are over half a dozen letters, mostly in manuscript and written to Mrs. Elliot, and most with the original envelopes which assures provenance. Mrs. Elliot lived at High Greenway and assisted Agatha in opening up Greenway when family came to use the house when Agatha was not living there. Some of the letters provide wonderful insights to Christie's life, such as Lot 21 that discusses locking up Greenway after the Americans left following World War II.
There are numerous furniture items that were originally sold at the September 2006 "Greenway Sale" held by Bearnes. For us, the highlight is Lot 41 which is a large travel trunk still adorned with travel labels atop addressed to Mrs. Mallowan at Greenway House. To know that Christie used this trunk for her travels conjures images of travel from the Orient Express to the Karnak. A wonderful item.
Unique collectibles always have appeal. In this auction are three lots containing the artwork that went into the design of the dust jackets for Collins Crime Club Christie books in the 1950s and 1960s. All are acrylics on boards with publishing notes. Estimates are £300-500 per lot, with each lot containing multiple covers.
The full auction catalogue can be found here. It is well worth taking some time to explore and read through all the descriptions. All Christie related items are between Lot 1 and Lot 78. See you at the auction and good luck!