by Pamela Palmer

#74, 7 August 2006

BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
June 2006

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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.

Does selling for charity increase an auction's the final value? Probably - especially when the charity is well known, appealing, and celebrities are involved. All these forces came together in June when The Old Bakery in Lincoln, UK auctioned off a copy of The Da Vinci Code signed by the cast, crew, and author. The charity involved was The Mayor's Charity. As the auction states, it helps "purchase neo-natal incubators for premature children at Lincoln County Hospital."

Now this particular book with the same signatures would bring a hefty price on its own, but coupled with the fact the cast, crew, and author autographed and wrote messages in the volume specifically for this auction, it's a unique item of unquestionable authenticity. Even with 0 feedback, The Old Bakery had everything going for it. The auction garnered 37 bids and ended above $5800. Charity auctions may receive skewed returns, so other sellers should factor that in when looking for comparables.

Fiction Top 10
June 2006

#1 $9,050.00 Eragon by Christopher Paolini, Signed, 1st Edition
#2 $5,825.28 Da Vinci Code Book signed by cast, crew and author
#3 $4,692.98 Ian Fleming - Live and let die - James Bond 1st Ed Rare
#5 $4,149.00 Tom Hanks Signed Personal Copy of Da Vinci Code Book
#7 $2,218.92 Shute, Nevil. What Happened to the Corbetts 1st edition
#8 $2,175.92 Ian Fleming - Moonraker - James Bond 1st Ed 1955 Rare
#10 $1,625.53 Tolkien.Lord of the Rings.1st editions/1st impressions.

Christopher Paolini

A self-published novel tops the fiction chart, selling on 1 bid for $9,050. Three photos and items specifics provide the only information in a minimalist 7-day auction that closed at the starting price. Item specifics shows it to be a 2001 signed first edition in new condition. The novice seller has 1 feedback.

The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown

Loads of questions came in for this heavily autographed paperback copy of The Da Vinci Code. On sale to raise money for neo-natal incubators, the "over 50 pages of comments, autographs and messages from the cast and crew" give it added value. Signatures include Tom Hanks and the author. Sold for the charity by the The Old Bakery (a local restaurant with no feedback), the UK seller attracted 37 bids, raising the starting price of GBP 0.99 to $5,825.28 in a 10-day auction. Questions from other eBay members consisted mostly of good wishes, though one reminded the seller of potentially high eBay final value fees.

Live and Let Die
Ian Fleming

James Bond is back on the Top 10 list with this very good + hardcover in a very good dust jacket. Described as having "one of the rare first issue dustjackets without the credit to Keneth Lewis on the front flap." Listed by a UK seller in a 7-day auction with 6 photos, the book started at GBP 4.99, received 31 bids, and sold for $4,692.98.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
P.K. Dick

A 2-line description sufficed for the P.K. Dick hardcover in a dust jacket. Minor flaws are listed by the US seller who started the 7-day auction with 1 photo at $9.99. After 36 bids, the book sold for $4,239.89.

The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown

Yet another copy of The Da Vinci Code comes in at #5. This one is autographed by Tom Hanks, who donated his own signed copy to Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland. Unable to attend a function to which they invited him, "he [Hanks] kindly sent his bodyguard with not only apologies but a signed personal copy of the book!" Sold by the charity (with no feedbacks), the 10-day auction with 3 photos attracted 52 bids, raising the starting price of GBP 0.99 to $4,149.

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

J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien signed The Two Towers in this 3-volume set, and his daughter Pricilla signed above the first signature. Priscilla is described in the auction as having a "close relationship" with James Dyson, and it is from Dyson's estate that the set comes to auction. The 3 volumes are described as in very good condition with very good dust jackets by the UK seller who listed them in a 10-day auction starting at GBP 1,250.00. They sold with 1 bid at the starting price.

What Happened to the Corbetts
Nevil Shute

The 1939 first edition is described as "An excellent copy of an extrememly rare book." Listed by a UK seller in a 7-day auction with 8 photos, the book sold at the starting price.

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming's Moonraker is described as "an attractive copy of this very scarce title" by the UK seller who listed it in a 7-day auction with 6 photos. Starting at GBP 4.99, it sold for $2,175.92 after 21 bids. The book is described as in very good + condition and the dust jacket in very good condition.

The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien

Rebound in full red morocco but originally a paperback, this volume is described as "the first paperback and first single volume edition with the revised text of 1966." Signed but with "some bleeding of the signature" due to humidity, the book was listed in a 10-day auction with 6 photos. The UK seller started bidding at GBP 999.00 and it sold at that price.

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

J.R.R. Tolkien

Another Tolkien listing, this time 1st editions 1st impressions, came in at #10. The UK seller started the 7-day auction at GBP 299, and the auction attracted 6 bids to close at $1,625.53. Twelve photos show the set described as "a sorry set of first editions waiting for somebody to put them back together" and "a set in need of a restorer/rebinder." In addition, the seller listed out flaws in detail, noted that the folding maps are present, and mentioned points.


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