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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
December 2007

by Pamela Palmer

#117, 24 March 2008

Which fiction and non-fiction books are winners on eBay? Each month this series answers the question and, along the way, looks at the listing strategies sellers use to bring in big bucks. To learn more about what's in and what's out of the lists, read our Top 10 on eBay Parameters.

NOTE: For item numbers of auctions featured in Top 10, subscribe to our free email list by writing Editor Craig Stark at Stephen King showed up four times in the Fiction Top 10, along with Poe, Dick, and Grisham. But Marquez led the list with a $4,000 sale of Cien Anos De Soledad. On the non-fiction side, the list started with a signed copy of A River Runs Through It and ended with a Ron Paul title sold to gather funds for his presidential campaign. In between there were the familiar (Narcotics Anonymous, Picasso, Klein's New York, and A Margin of Safety) and the unusual (a pair of early airplane books and Peter Zumthor Works).

The biggest news, though, isn't about price or frequency. Fully half of top 10 listings sold as Best Offer or Buy It Now, hinting that the upper price ranges may be moving away from auction sales. Whether this is a trend or a Christmas fluke will become apparent in the next months.

Fiction Top 10
December 2007

#2 $1,800.00 Stephen King - The Stand - Signed Limited #122
#3 $1,499.99 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?-Philip K.Dick
#5 $1,150.00 Stephen King Salem's Lot Signed Limited Centipede Press
#6 $1,080.00 Harry Potter Azkaban L,1999 UK 1st/1st Orig bds,d/j
#7 $1,075.00 Legends 1 & 2 SIGNED Limited & Numbered 1st Editions
#8 $1,000.00 A Time to Kill TRUE First 1st Edition John Grisham N/R
#10 $900.00 Stephen King Colorado Kid 10/33 copies SIGNED by KING

Cien Anos de Soledad
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A Best Offer ended this "very fine" 1st edition listing by a US seller.

The Stand
Stephen King

The leather bound signed limited edition is described as in fine conditon in a near fine wooden traycase. It sold as a BIN.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick

This 1st edition, ex-library copy has a history. As the US seller wrote, "... a book collector stole 63 valuable first edition books from the Mufreesboro public library in Tennessee.... The library got their books back and decided to put them on ebay instead on back on the shelves." As winner of the auction for this book, the seller was sent the evidence property tag too and included it in this listing.

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West.
Cormac McCarthy

In excellent condition and unread, this 1st edition was sold by the original owner for $1,458.33. It received 33 bids.

Salem's Lot
Stephen King

A signed, limited edition in mint condition, this is #256 of 300 copies.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
J.K. Rowling

The 1st edition was only opened to make photographs. After 10 bids, it some for $1,080.

Legends [I]
Legends II
Robert Silverberg and others

Both volumes are described as in "fine unread condition" in their slipcases. Legends [I] includes the original shipping box from the publisher; it was signed by 11 of the authors (King, Jordan, McCaffrey, etc.) and is #92 of 200 in the limited edition. Legends II is #35 of 500 in the limited edition and was signed by 11 of the authors.

A Time to Kill
John Grisham

Sold with a single bid, this 1st edition was listed by a US seller.

Murders in the Rue Morgue
Edgar Allan Poe

Ten bound issues of Graham's Magazine starting with March 1841 are described as "Octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown morocco gilt, contemporary boards, raised bands." The volume includes Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "A Descent into the Maelstrom," (3) The Island of the Fay, and "Never Bet Your Head." It sold as a BIN.

Colorado Kid
Stephen King

Leather bound and "as new," this is a "1st edition hardcover of a paperback." It sold as a BIN.

Non-Fiction Top 10
December 2007

#1 $2,600.00 A River Runs Through It signed Maclean & Robert Redford
#2 $2,225.00 Narcotics Anonymous, First Edition, Red Cover
#3 $2,200.00 WILLIAM KLEIN NEW YORK 1ED SEUIL 1956 photobook P 243
#5 $1,655.22 WILLIAM KLEIN photography NEW YORK 1956 dust jacket
#6 tie $1,500.00 Peter Zumthor Works: Buildings and Projects, 1979-1997
#8 tie $1,400.00 Margin of Safety Risk-Averse Value Investing by Klarman
#8 tie $1,400.00 Pair of Airplane Books, Early 1900's, Scarce!!
#10 $1,325.00 Ron Paul: A Foreign Policy of Freedom (2007)


A River Runs Through It
Norman Mclean

Signed by the author, by the illustrator, and by Robert Redford, the limited edition copy was 1 of 70 copies signed by Redford after making the film of the same title. It sold with a single bid to a seller with 0 feedback; over 3 months later, feedback had not been given by either buyer or seller.

It Works
Narcotics Anonymous

A red cover 1st edition was listed by the original buyer who rarely read it. Instead he/she bought a plain copy for regular use. After 16 bids, it sold for $2,225.

New York
William Klein

Described as in "perfect condition," book was listed by a French seller. The dust jacket "is a little rubbed" and the booklet is a copy. It sold as a BIN.

Toreros Jaime Sabartes
Pable Picasso

In yet another BIN purchase, the book with 4 lithographs was listed by a US seller. The same seller listed #6 tie.

New York
William Klein

Listed by an Italian seller, this copy of New York garnered 34 bids.

#6 tie
Peter Zumthor Works
Peter Zumthor

The 1998 title was described as like new though it "has a discreet stamp by a San Francisco architect/designer on inside page." Listed by a US seller with 0 feedback, it sold after 3 bids.

#6 tie
Picasso: Venti Pochoirs Originali
Pable Picasso; text by Franco Russoli

Listed by the US seller of #4, it sold as a best offer.

#8 tie
Margin of Safety
Seth A. Klarman

A BIN purchased this copy, listed by a US seller.

#8 tie
Belmont Park International Aviation Tournament of 1910
The Wright Flyer, Advance Announcement [1911]

Listed without photos, the items sold within 3 minutes as a BIN.

A Foreign Policy of Freedom
Ron Paul

Signed by Glenn Beck, the book sold to raise money for Ron Paul's presidential campaign. It sold after 36 bids.

By the Numbers

19 sellers were from the USA
1 seller was from Italy
18 books were published during or after 1950
2 were published before 1950
8 sold as BIN
2 sold as a Best Offer
1 to 36 was the range of bids
Seller feedback ranged from 0 to 6980.*
9 books were sold by sellers with 100% positive feedback
Feedback ranged from 98.9% to 100% for sellers who had feedback
The oldest book was published in 1841.

*feedback is noted at the time the auction is viewed by BookThink.

Antiquarian & Collectible Top 5
December 2007

#1 $45,000.00 Schedel - Nuremberg Chronicle - 1st German ed., 1493 !!
#4 $24,999.00 Vitas patrum / Der Altvater Leben - Incunable 1482
#5 $13,000.00 1502 Magnificant first illustrated edition of Virgil!

Nuremberg Chronicle
Hartmann Schedel, ed.

Listed by a German seller, the volume contains 1800 woodcuts and is called, "The most richly illustrated work of the incunabula age." It received 32 bids and sold for $45,000.

Sidereus, nuncius magna, longeque admirabilia spectacula pandens ...
Galileo Galilei

Described as "excessively rare," the 1610 2nd issue sold for $44,100 after 93 bids.

[Greek Christianity Manuscript]
15th Century

The Bulgarian seller listed this manuscript that received 129 bids.

Vitas Patrum/Der Altvšter Leben

The German seller indicates the author is "probably Saint Jerome (died 419)." It includes 275 page-size colored woodcuts. After 30 bids, it sold for $24,999.

Publius Virgilius Maro [Virgil]
Sebastian Brant, ed.

Sold by a US seller, the 1502 work was called the "first illustrated edition of Virgil." It sold as a BIN.

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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