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Top Ten on eBay
Non-Fiction's Top 5
July 2005

#2 $2,982.01 Helmut Newton SUMO signed limited edition book
#5 $2,051.00 NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS 1st Edition Red Book No. 2128

Selected Non-Fiction Also Rans

$2,026.00 Paris De Nuit 1st Ed Paul Morand, Photos by Brassai, NR
$1,396.71 Alcoholics Anonymous. 1st Edition,1944,Sixth Printing
$1,353.96 Signed OCTAVIO PAZ: THREE POEMS; Limited editions club

#1 Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World
by Mikhail Gorbachev

Listed by iSold It, eBay's chain of drop off stores, this signed "mint, leather bound limited-edition" 1994 publication is number 142 of 250 and comes in a slipcover. The presentation is brief, consisting of three pictures, a six-sentence description, and a lengthy quote from a published review. The auction attracted 26 bidders starting at $0.99 and rising to $3,650, far surpassing the stated $124.99 reserve.

From the start, this book had a lot going for it - limited edition, leather, and signed, but iSold It packaged it with all the right professional touches. The photographs are extremely clear, the design is elegantly simple, and the text is exact but restrained.

#2 Sumo, by Helmut Newton

Erotic photography on a large scale takes second place in the July non-fiction list with a collectable copy of Sumo. Hefty at 20"x27.5" and 66 lbs., the title aims to get attention. The British seller is shown as an eBay member since May 20, and he/she writes, "this book has only been opened to check contents and to photograph for this auction." In addition, it was kept "in it's original packaging inside a custom made aluminium case for protection," though the seller notes that the case is sold separately. This copy is number 7731 of 10,000 and signed by Newton. A single bid at the starting price brought in GBP 1,695 or $2,982.01.

#3 Commentaries on the Laws of England, by Sir William Blackstone
Vols. 1, 2, and 4 of a 4-volume set

Despite missing volume 3 of this set, the seller in Scotland had a $2,926.89 payday on July 30 with Blackstone's Commentaries. Published in 1771, the volumes are described as "Bound in original full leather, five raised bands, with extensive gilt decoration and edging, all secure bindings, no loose boards, cracking to the leather on the spine edge of volume 1 - not affecting the binding. Some wear to the edges and rubbing in places." In addition, the seller indicates that there are no missing pages, insect damage or tears. Four photos illustrate the set. Twenty-four bids raised the price from a start of GBP 19.99 to 1,651, or $2,926.89.

#4 America's Sensational Perplexer, by Harry Houdini

Calling this "a fantastic, rare find," the British seller says this 1904 title is in very good+ condition flawed only by a nick, and praises it's rarity claiming, "I would go as far as to say that I believe this is possibly the best copy of this rare item left on the planet, whether on the open market or tucked away in a collection." Possibly? Maybe, so. After all this is Houdini. The 32-page booklet received 19 bids, rising from a starting price of GBP 0.99 to 1,601 or $2,816.64 by auction's end on July 17.

#5 Narcotics Anonymous: It Works

This first edition copy of "The Red Book" is numbered 2128 and was published in 1982. The seller notes it is in outstanding condition with only two flaws - the seller's name inked inside and a razor cut on the surface of the back cover. Three pictures are with the auction. After three bids, the price rose from the starting bid of $1,500 to sell for $2,051.00 on July 18.

By the Numbers

70% of the sellers were from the UK
8 items were published after 1950
6 were listed for 7 days
3 were listed for 10 days
1 was listed for 3 days
3 had a reserve price
2 had only 1 bidder each
6 had between 16 and 37 bids
The 2 highest priced items had fewer than 16 bids
3 sellers had 100% positive feedback
2 sellers had 99.3% positive feedback, the lowest except 0
8 sellers had 98 or more feedbacks
1 seller had 2 feedbacks
1 seller had no feedback, listed for 3 days, and sold at the 2nd highest price

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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