COLLECT: The 1990 "Rosalind Hicks" Box Set
In September 1990, Collins published a limited edition set of six Agatha Christie books. The collection was curated by Christie’s daughter, Rosalind Hicks, who stated they were selected because they were amongst her mother’s favourites. These six titles are as follows:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The Labours of Hercules
A Murder is Announced
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.
Value: The last public auction result for this set was at the Dominic Winter auction of Modern Literature held on 20th June 2019. Lot 657 was set number 154/350 and was in fine condition. The Lot sold for £180 plus approximately 30% in buying fees, so the total cost was ~£235 ($310 US). This set is now for sale at a Dutch bookstore. There is one further set for sale online, edition 56/350. These two sellers are asking just over £600 UK or $800 US. Given the last auction price fair retail value is likely closer to half this amount, but as with everything pay what you need to, to acquire what you love.
Collectibility: For those who enjoy unique and relatively uncommon sets, this is likely already in your collection if you knew about it. Long term appreciation will probably be minimal as the autograph doesn’t have meaningful value and the books don’t contain the wonderful artistic frontispieces that the Easton Press sets do (click here for more details on that set). However, the Collins imprint provides a more historical air of significance and so there will always be demand (at the right price) for these books. It is just a shame Collins didn't put more effort into integrating some of the vintage touches - whether cover art or printing sheets - to make these more desirable.