by Pamela Palmer

#58, 26 December 2005

BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
November 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.

In November, Orwell took the lead with two winners in the fiction category, two in the non-fiction group, and an association copy as well. He wasn't the only interesting quirk this month. The non-fiction top seller brought in over 4 times the price atop the fiction list. One seller hit the jackpot with two fiction and two non-fiction titles. Other intriguing twists include an author's handwritten comments about his ex-wife, two charity auctions, and an 18th century history of Armenia, apparently written in Armenian.

Top 10 on eBay
Fiction Top 10
November 2005

#1 $3,581.46 C.S. Lewis Hideous Strength 1st inscribed George Orwell
#2 $2,977.27 George Orwell 'Burmese Days ' First Edition
#3 $2,682.12 Harry Potter CoS UK DLX 1st/1st fine cast signed book
#5 $2,111.09 George Orwell 1984 First Edition Book and Dust Jacket
#6 $2,076.48 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe 1st
#9 $2,025.00 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Alan Dingman, Peter

That Hideous Strength: A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown Ups, by C. S. Lewis

How speculative is the U.K. seller's assertion that "It is highly likely the Blair [in the inscription] is Eric Blair who wrote under the pseudonym of George Orwell?" He continues by suggesting the probability that this was the copy Orwell used when he reviewed Lewis' book for a review in The Manchester Evening News. Speculation aside, the title is listed as "a good copy in original black cloth" of the first UK edition, first printing, 1945; its leather and cloth box is lined in velvet. The seller details wear, rubbing, faded lettering, and slight lean. Offered for sale with 4 pictures, the 10-day auction started at GBP 9.99 and rose to $3,581.46 on 22 bids.

Burmese Days, by George Orwell

A mint condition book with a carefully restored dust jacket, this title garnered 17 bids to sell for $2,977.27 from a starting bid of GBP 0.99. The UK seller describes it as in mint condition with a carefully restored dust jacket and calls it the first edition, first issue, Harper and Brothers, 1934 with 2000 in the print run. Listed for 7 days with a reserve and 6 pictures, the auction brought questions. The seller assured one writer that the US edition was published before the UK one and gave details of the dust jacket restoration. This seller also sold #5 below plus #3 and #6 in the non-fiction list.

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets,
by J. K. Rowling

The main feature of this UK seller's auction is a "Fine condition UK deluxe version of: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." The seller notes it is a 1st/1st and is a "MEGA multiple cast signed book." A list of those who signed is by screen name; the list includes Harry, Ron, Hermione and 17 others. A wrap party wrist band is also included. The auction includes 3 pictures and sold at the starting price of GBP 1,550 as a BIN.

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

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Twelve photographs illustrate the trilogy, which sold at the starting bid or $2,595.60 after a 7-day auction. The trilogy is identified by the UK seller as published by Allen and Unwin in 1954-55. The Return of the King is first edition/first impression, 1955; The Fellowship of the Ring is first edition/second impression, as is The Two Towers. All three dust jackets are in good condition and the three books are in very good condition.

Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel
by George Orwell

Listed by the same UK seller as #2 above plus #3 and #6 in non-fiction, this second Orwell title on the November fiction list is first edition, first printing in a dust jacket. The seller notes it is "A stunning example of the rare red variant dust jacket; both dust jacket" and book are unrestored. The auction attracted 28 bids, moving if from a GBP starting price of 0.99 to a selling price of $2,111.09. The 7-day auction included 7 photographs and had a reserve. Described in near fine condition, the book is "almost totally unmarked." The dust jacket has two closed tears and a few chips.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,
by C. S. Lewis

Selling 10 days before movie's release, a first edition (Bles 1950) of C. S. Lewis' book comes in at #6. The UK seller states that it was "bought from a reputable London dealer and can prove provenance." Bound by The Chelsea Bindery in green morocco with gilt decorations and marbled endpapers, the book is in fine condition. Five photographs illustrate the auction. It ran 7 days, starting at GBP 600 with a reserve. It sold for $2,076.48 on 13 bids.

Now Wait for Last Year, by Philip K. Dick

The US seller proclaims the quality of this fine first edition in a near fine dust jacket. Dick's signature is on the title page. Dedicated to his wife, publication occurred after their divorce. An additional biographical detail is on the dedication page, where the seller reports Dick wrote, "My %&#$ Ex-Wife Who I send $200 a month to. PKD" The 3-day auction started at $2,000, received 3 bids, and sold at $2,050.

The Fellowship of the Ring
by J. R. R. Tolkien

Twenty-five bids propelled this UK first edition, first printing far above the opening bid of GBP 0.99 to close at $2,041.89 after a 10-day auction. The UK seller calls this edition "extremely rare." The book is in excellent condition with a mint condition map; there is not dust jacket. Flaws include a slight spine lean and end paper browning. According to information added 4 days into the auction, the seller was informed that the book had been rebound. The 3 pictures show only the open book and map. In the additional information, the seller offers to send pictures on request.

The Girl Who Loved Tim Gordon
by Alan Dingman, Peter Abrahams, and Stephen King

With 100% of the selling price going to the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association, the seller states that this "Pop-up Autographed Limited Edition ... sold for $1,000.00 on the open market. It is still in original wrap." The auction attracted 10 bids during its 7-day run, taking the book from a $100 starting price to $2,025 and meeting the reserve.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis

Rounding out the top 10 fiction for November, this is "an ultra scarce, first edition, first print hardback ...." The UK seller started it at GBP 49.99 and saw it reach $1,957.08 with 28 bids during the 10-day auction. The book does not have a dust jacket and the only other flaw mentioned is fading on the front and back boards.

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