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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
October 2006

by Pamela Palmer

#83, 4 December 2006

    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. In early January, we'll look back at the year and consider trends and highlights. 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

    Fleming, Tolkien, Pullman, King, and Rowling regularly dominate the Top 10 Fiction list and this month is no exception. The Non-Fiction list, though, could scarcely be more varied. From the 1794 American atlas to a German book on Constantinople and a look at early Los Angeles, the list has something for everyone - including fans of carp fishing, the Civil War, Muhammad Ali, U2, Scientology, Nelson Mandela, and Helmets of the Deep.

    Fiction Top 10
    October 2006

    #2 $4,752.75 Ian Fleming.. Casino Royale.. 1st impression 1953 Cape.
    #3 $3,410.50 J R R Tolkien Lord of the Rings 1st ed 3 vols HB DJ
    #4 $3,293.63 Ian Fleming -- Casino Royale -- 2nd impression -- 1953.
    #5 $2,661.54 The Haunted Storm by Phillip N. Pullman
    #6 $2,550.00 Stephen King Dark Tower Gunslinger 1st EDITION SIGNED
    #7 $2,499.00* HARDCOVER "DAVY" by Edgar Pangborn (cult sf novel)
    #8 $2,413.84 J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    #9 $2,300.00 STEPHEN KING DARK TOWER 5, 6, AND 7 SIGNED/LIMITED/#533
    *Non-registered buyer so sale not completed and final value not validated.

    Casino Royale
    Ian Fleming

    All the stir about Daniel Craig in Casino Royale likely brought this James Bond 1st UK edition into an eBay auction. Even though the UK seller noted a facsimile jacket, the listing attracted the right person who bought the book as a BIN.

    Casino Royale
    Ian Fleming

    Another copy of Casino Royale came in at #2. This 1st edition, 1st impression is missing its dust jacket and the UK seller mentions the "chance that the endpapers may have been replaced." Signed by the "co designer Kenneth Lewis to the front endpaper," the book is rated a very good/very good+ copy. It sold as a BIN by the seller of #4.

    Lord of the Rings
    The Fellowship of the Ring
    The Two Towers
    The Return of the King

    J.R.R. Tolkien

    Listed by a UK seller in a 7-day auction with 3 photos, this 1st edition/1st impression set drew 9 bids to close at $3,410.50, well above the starting bid of GBP 400.00. The flaws are described in detail - ex-library indicated by only a single stamp per volume, rubbed and faded dust jackets with a pasted-on dj in one case, and tape reinforcement on two volumes.

    Casino Royale
    Ian Fleming

    This Casino Royale is a 2nd impression in the original dj. Described as in fine condition with a very near fine dust jacket, the book was listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 9 photos. After 19 bids, the book sold at $3,293.63. The seller also sold #2.

    The Haunted Storm
    Philip Pullman

    Signed by Pullman with his then cover name of Philip N. Pullman, this copy was dedicated to Roy, a colleague at Charing Cross Library who died recently. Sold by a friend of Roy, the dust jacket was kept fresh by its plastic cover. The flaw mentioned is "strong tanning on page 9." Listed by a UK seller with 5 photos, it sold at the Best Offer price of $2,661.54.

    The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
    Stephen King

    Described as in near mint condition with the original dust jacket, this hardback was signed by King and Whelan, the illustrator. Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 5 photos, the starting bid of $500 grew to $2,550 after 13 bids.

    Edgar Pangborn

    The original hardcover edition of a cult SF novel, this book was listed by a US seller who was the victim of a non-paying buyer who is now "not a registered user."

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    J.K. Rowling

    Listed by a UK seller as a paperback copy for the first edition, the book received 35 bids during its 7-day run. Starting at GBP 19.90, it sold for $2,413.84. The seller differentiates this edition from the earlier proof copy.

    Dark Tower
    Books 5, 6, and 7
    Stephen King

    In this unusual auction, the US seller offers confidential information to the buyer - along with the books of course. The books are each #533 of "signed, limited, slipcased, still in the publishers shrinkwrap." The information is in two parts. First, the seller will divulge the name of the bookseller who can sell Books 2-4. It's his speculation that both this set and the unnamed seller's set together cost app. $6,000. The second item of information to the buyer is labeled part rumor and deals with the forthcoming new signed and numbered limited edition of The Gunslinger; seems King collectors are interested in the starting number. As a near aside, the seller mentions the books at auction are "in new condition in publishers shrinkwrap." The books sold as BIN for $2,300.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Harry Potter and the Changer of Secrets
    J.K. Rowling

    Given as a present from Viscount David Linley to the consigner, the auction includes Viscount Linley's letter that accompanied the gift. All three books were signed by Rowling. Two are 1st editions and the other "is very special because only 1000 copies were published by Bloomsbury with the misprint of Joanna Rowling ... on the copyright page." Listed by a US seller in a 10-day auction with app. 30 photos, the set attracted 19 bids, raising the starting price of $9.99 to $2,126.01.

    *Auctions marked with an asterisk indicate those won by a bidder who is no longer a registered user. The final value should not be interpreted as valid.


    Non-Fiction Top 10
    October 2006

    #2 $3,301.99 Helmets Of The Deep, Leon Lyons/deep sea diving helmets
    #3 $2,914.85 Die Baukunst Konstantinoples by Cornelius Gurlitt,1912
    #7 $2,136.00 L. RON HUBBARD "Scientology 88"
    #8 $1,999.00 Easton Press-Long Walk-Nelson Mandela, 1st ed. signed
    #9 tie $1,911.99 GOAT Mohammad Muhammad Ali Cassius Clay (RRPŁ2000)

    The American Geography or a View of the Present Situation of the United States of America Containing Astonomical Geography ...
    Jedidiah Morse

    Published in 1794, this ex-library quarto size volume has a tight binding, clean pages, and "some foxing and staining." Graded good by the UK seller who listed it in a 10-day auction with 12 photos, the book "contains the first separately printed map of the state of North Carolina ... very scarce." Three bids took it from the GBP 999.99 starting bid to sell for $8,154.08.

    Helmets of the Deep
    Leon Lyons

    The recent publication date didn't keep this 1988 volume from attracting lots of attention. In the end, 55 bids raised its price to $3,301.99. Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 4 photos, the book contains photos of diving helmets. It is signed by the author as "Presentation edition, 850 of 900."

    Die Baukunst Konstantinopels
    Cornelius Gurlitt

    As the UK seller explains, this 1912 set is "two large folio volumes of plates and one large folio volume of text to accompany the plates." It contains photos of "buildings of great importance in Constantinople." Written in German, it is ex-library with some pages bound in the wrong order and some scuffing and tears. The set attracted 22 bids to the 10-day auction with app. 28 photos, taking it from the GBP 1.99 starting bid to sell for $2,914.85.

    Atlas to Accompany the Official Records
    of the Union and Confederate Armies

    Published by the U.S. Government Printing Office between 1891 and 1895, this 2-volume ex-library set is folio size with quarter calf binding. Tight and clean, it has rubbing and a detached front board on volume 2. Five bids took the 10-day auction with 12 photos from the GBP 749.99 starting bid to sell for $2,878.04.

    Condition Progress and Advantages Los Angeles City & County
    A.T. Hawley

    Though tattered, torn, and soiled, this 1876 booklet drew 6 bids to sell for $2,808.00. Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 13 photos, the pamphlet saw better days back when "irrigated land is sold at prices running from $600.00 to $900.00 and [sic] acre. Non irrigated land was going for $80.00 or less per acre." Sold as it, the seller sagely notes, "... the book has to be cleaned."

    Tiger Bay
    Rob Maylin

    Called "one of the very rarest Carp leatherbounds," the 1989 limited edition volume in a slipcase was listed by a seller from the Netherlands in a 7-day auction with 6 photos. The seller is unsure if the binding is leather or artificial. After 14 bids, the book sold for $2,319.34.

    Scientology 88
    L. Ron Hubbard

    A 1st edition in "very fine shape," Hubbard's book has "some ware on the cover and binding." Listed by a US seller with no feedback in a 7-day auction with 2 photos, the book received 2 bids and sold for $2,136.00.

    Long Walk to Freedom
    Nelson Mandela

    Easton's Press limited edition signed "collector's copy" was sold by a US seller in a 10-day auction with 2 photos. A single bid led to the sale at $1,999.

    #9 tie
    U2 by U2

    Carrying the signatures of all members of the band and their tour manager, this is one of 250 books signed at Waterstones Picadilly in London. The UK seller was 27th in line and will supply the wrist band, leaflet, receipt, bag and ticket number to prove it. Listed in a 5-day auction with 4 photos, the book received 7 bids and sold for $1,911.99.

    #9 tie
    A Tribute to Muhammad Ali

    Benedikt Taschen and Howard L. Bingham

    Tied for #9, the Taschen publication weighs 75 lbs. and is one of 10,000 published. The book was listed by a UK seller, attracted 28 bids and sold for $1,911.99.

    By the Numbers

    11 of the sellers were from the UK
    8 of the sellers were from the USA
    1 of the sellers was from the Netherlands
    1 books sold to a non-registered buyers
    15 books were published during or after 1950
    5 were published before 1950
    2 books was listed for 5 days
    7 books were listed for 7 days
    6 books were listed for 10 days
    4 sold as BIN
    1 sold as Best Offers
    1 to 55 is the range of bids
    None were private auction
    Seller feedback ranged from 0 to 27,636
    9 sellers had 100% positive feedback
    Feedback ranged from 90% to 100% for sellers who had feedback
    The oldest book was published in 1794

    *Auctions marked with an asterisk indicate those won by a bidder who is no longer a registered user. The final value should not be interpreted as valid.

    Questions or comments?
    Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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