by Pamela Palmer

#52, 19 September 2005

BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
August 2005

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Top 10 on eBay

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.

The August heat wave brought out sellers who can't tell fiction from non-fiction. Fortunately for them, buyers showed up anyway. Psychedelic Renegades: Photographs of Syd Barrett, by Mick Rock, made both the fiction and the non-fiction top 10 this month. Same is true of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights set. Take a look below to see if listing these titles in the wrong category helped or hurt the bottom line.

Top 10 on eBay
Fiction Top 10
August 2005

#2 $4,393.59 PINK FLOYD. SYD BARRETT. "Psychedelic Renegades"
#3 $4,103.69 JRR Tolkien The Lord of The Rings 1st UK Ed. SIGNED
#6 $2,054.24 The Surgeon's Mate - Patrick O'Brian - Rare 1st Edition
#7 $1,992.36 Ian Fleming, Goldfinger, 1959, 1st Edition, Signed, DJ
#8 $1,862.60 JRR Tolkien The Hobbit, Foyles / Childrens Book Club
#9 $1,841.68 RARE Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring 1954 1st/1st
#10 $1,822.03 FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE - Ian Fleming 1957 1st / 1st DJ

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

Billed as "First edition, first printing 1997 ... The True First Edition, preceding all other printings published and printed in England," the book sold on August 2. It started at GBP 4.99 and moved up to $9,110.13 on 33 bids. The UK seller stated that this is one of 300 copies printed with the number code of 10-1. An ex-school library copy, it has minimal library markings but has rubbing, laminate chipping/peeling, and bumped corners. The auction included nine pictures.

#2 Psychedelic Renegades: Photographs of Syd Barrett by Mick Rock

A Genesis Publications leather limited edition in mint condition, this copy outpaced the same title listed as non-fiction. The UK seller notes there are "only 950 numbered copies worldwide, of which 1 to 320 are in a deluxe binding, signed by Syd Barrett ... and Mick Rock." Four pictures illustrate the book, which moved from GBP 450.00 to reach $4,393.59 on 36 bids.

#3 The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

In a detailed and heavily illustrated presentation, this signed set of three garnered five questions that centered on provenance and authenticity. According to the UK seller, "This set was purchased together in Oxford, Blackwells, (1957) by a student who had The Fellowship signed by Professor Tolkien." The seller then outlines the provenance and rebinding, notes that a written record and certification of provenance and signature authentication are included.

Rebound by The Chelsea Bindery in "Full Red Leather with the 'Ring & Eye' design stamped to the front...," The Fellowship of the Ring is listed as 7th impression October 1957; The Two Towers as 5th impression 1957; The Return of The King as 3rd impression January 1957. Eighteen bids took the set from a starting bid of GBP 99.00 to $4,103.69. The same seller sold #8 fiction.

#4 Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Listed by another UK seller, this book is described as "1st/1st FlatSigned" near fine with little shelfwear with a very good+ dust jacket. Points mentioned include "the all-important £12.99 price (unclipped)" and the publisher address "as 7-9 Pratt Street, London, NW1 0AE and POINT to the base of the spine." Three pictures, including one of the signature, were included. Starting at GBP .99, the auction moved up with 17 bids to sell for $2,590.14.

#5 Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman

The same title as #4, this copy of Northern Lights is listed as a "True first ever print ... 7-9 PRATT STREET ... Hand Signed to the title page." Offering in auction starting at GBP 0.01, the seller also included a Buy It Now for £1,850, well above the final auction price of £1,370.00 ($2,447.23) which was reached with 16 bids, and, pulling out all stops, used a reserve too. The seller describes it as "very rare ... only 1000 printed ... signed by Pullman at the Oxford Literary Festival."

A photo of Pullman signing the book and a photo of the ticket will be issued with the item." Then the seller quoted what Pullman said while signing. Noting that it has been opened but unread, the seller offers "a 500% refund if you find it [the signature]" to be not authentic. Six pictures are included.

#6 The Surgeon's Mate, by Patrick O'Brian

Listed as "a genuine British 'first edition,'" this book is said to be "in stunning condition." The UK seller notes it appears unread and as new. The auction included 2 pictures and started at GBP 24.99, rising on 33 bids to $2,054.24.

#7 Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming's Goldfinger comes in at #7, as a first edition, signed copy. The UK seller includes 3 pictures and notes, "... we are sorting though a relative's belongings who it seems was a collector ... I am not an expert on books but I have just tryed to give what knowledge I do have in my listings ..." He/she describes the book and dust jacket as both in good condition with shelfwear. Starting at GBP19.99, it finished at $1,992.36 with 28 bids.

#8 The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Described as The Childrens Book Club Edition of 1942 "with wrapper excellent condition, no faults," the UK seller notes the book has "the orange wrapper and the 'Dandified Hobbit.'" Minimal wrapper chipping, near fine book with no marks, and is printed on war economy paper. Five pictures illustrate the auction. Selling for $1,862.60, the book started at GBP 999.00 and received 2 bids. The same seller sold #3 fiction.

#9 The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien's third showing in the top ten this month, The Fellowship of the Ring sold for $1,841.68, moving up from GBP 50.00 on 13 bids. Listed from Malta as "a very rare and desirable first printing of the first edition," the dust jacket is largely intact. The book has edge bumping, end papers and edges foxed, and is described as in good condition. Five pictures are included.

#10 From Russia With Love, by Ian Fleming

Rounding out the top ten fiction for August is Ian Fleming's From Russia With Love. The UK seller saw his book rise from a starting GBP 0.99 to $1,822.03 on 31 bids. This seller had a good month, also selling #4 fiction. Described as "First Edition, First Issue with Original Dust Jacket ... FINE/FINE MINT CONDITION," the book is shown in 8 pictures.

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