by Pamela Palmer

#67, 1 May 2006

March 2006

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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 nine months since we launched the first BookThink's Top 10 on eBay have seen changes … and more changes. Now when something looks different, it's old news fast. For those of you keeping count, though, here is a short list of some of them. Starting date and starting bid disappeared from ready view. To find them now, click the "Listing and payment details: Show" button above item specifics. It's easy to miss; I did for quite a while. So far, no "best price" has reached the top 10 lists, but last month, one came close. In March, no reserve price books made the lists. Whether this is fluke or missing information only time will tell.

What's left? The most intriguing data, that's what - selling price, number of bids, BIN (and maybe reserve), auction title, description of the item, seller feedback score/percentage and country remain. Add that all of us have the potential to make the lists - even relative newcomers. After all, four of March's top sellers got there with fewer than 20 feedbacks.

Fiction Top 10
March 2006

#1 $6,630.24 J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings trilogy
#2 $6,327.63 The Lord of the Rings 1961 - SIGNED BY TOLKIEN
#3 $5,621.44 J.R.R. Tolkien LORD OF THE RINGS 1st / 1st 1954 3 vols
#6 tie $2,500.00 Signed Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged Ltd Ed Fine Copy
#6 tie $2,500.00 Ian Fleming GOLDFINGER Signed Shirley Eaton 1st in dj
#6 tie $2,500.00 NORTH OF BOSTON by ROBERT FROST **1st. Ed. BINDING B**
#9 $2,125.00 Dean R Koontz - Phil Parks - Unique Limited 1 of 1
#10 $1,967.50 Ray Bradbury FAHRENHEIT 451 - TRUE 1st/1st Hardback

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

by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Bound in grey Moroccan leather with art work - original brass plates included," this set consists of first impressions of each title. Described as in excellent condition and pictured in 7 photos, the volumes contain the original maps. The UK seller purchased the books from Dominic Winter and, in response to questions, notes having the original receipt. Other responses indicate these are the original covers with plain endpapers. The set sold for $6,630.24.

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

J.R.R. Tolkien

Signed by Tolkien and with a strong provenance, this 3-volume set is composed of later printings of the first editions, 1961. The volumes have only minor flaws and are shown in 5 photos. Listed by a UK seller, it sold for $6,327.63 after 9 bids.

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

J.R.R. Tolkien

The same set comes in at #3. First printings, first editions, these have been rebound in "full red morocco…The quality and design of the binding is simply superb incorporating Tolkien's line drawing of 'The Gates of Moria' stamped in gilt across the three individual spines." The books have gilt edges and come in a slipcase. Condition is fine. Offered by yet another UK seller and shown in 10 photos, the set attracted 22 bids and sold for $5,621.44.

Inside Out
by Nick Mason

The UK seller auctioning this Genesis book notes it was signed by Nick Mason, is #180 of 500 published, and comes with a "Deluxe Leather Box of Delights." The book in unread and the delights include drumsticks, a backstage pass, postcards and more. Shown in 1 photo, the auction attracted 1 bid and sold for $3,968.88

Northern Lights Trilogy
Northern Lights
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass

by Philip Pullman

Stoutly declaring these are not ex-library, the UK seller with a long track record in the fiction Top 10, notes these are all 1st edition, 1st printings. Flaws are described in detail, including "the slightest hint of sunning to the spine edge" of Northern Lights and similar minor flaws. Clearly shown in 10 photos, the auction received 28 bids and ended at $2,617.20.

#6 tie
Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand

Offered by a US seller, the "special tenth anniversary edition is limited to two thousand copies signed by the author…." This is #1160 and comes in a slipcase. Minor flaws are detailed - a scuff on the binding, light rubbing - and show in 9 photos. A single bid ended the auction at $2500.

#6 tie
by Ian Fleming

Signed by the golden Bond girl Shirley Eaton, this first edition, first printing is very good in a very good dust jacket. It was sold by a US seller as BIN for $2500.

#6 tie
North of Boston
by Robert Frost

Traditional literature makes an occasional appearance on the top 10 fiction list, this time with a collection of Frost's poetry. The US seller describes it as "First Edition, Second Issue, Binding B for American Publication," Published in 1914, it is 1 of 150 copies "published on February 20 1915 by Henry Holt and Company on sets of the original printed sheets imported from England." In very good condition, the seller notes that the Author Price Guide for Robert Frost indicates this edition, printing, and binding are valued at $2500 - and that turned out to be the exact selling price

The Servants of Twilight
The House of Thunder
The Eyes of Darkness
The Key to Midnight

by Dean Koonz
Illustrated by Phil Parks

As the story goes, "In early 1991 Phil Parks, the illustrator, was going to release a small limited edition of these 5 titles." Other things got in the way and this was the only completed set. Each book has an original illustration. A letter from Parks is included in the slipcase. The 5 books are described as "first edition and are in fine condition." The auction contained 9 photos and attracted 5 bids, taking it to $2,125.

Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

Forty bids led to the $1,967.50 selling price of this first edition, first printing fine hardcover in unclipped and unfaded jacket. The UK seller included 6 photos of the book published in England by Hart-Davis. Condition is described as "Awesome."


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