by Pamela Palmer

#87, 5 February 2007

BookThink's Top 10 Ten on eBay
December 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.

NOTE: For item numbers of auctions featured in Top 10, subscribe to our free email list by writing Editor Craig Stark at

Action-packed may not be how you describe most Top 10 on eBay columns, but this one merits the description. December brought drama, intrigue, pathos, and a seasoned bookseller who smelled a rat.

Fiction Top 10
December 2006

#1 $4,892.50 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 1/1 & D/J 1925
#2 $4,446.30* First Folio Shakespeare
#4 $3,750.00** Norman Mailer THE NAKED AND THE DEAD Signed 1st Ed
#5 tie $2,935.50*** LUCKY JIM 1st UK original SCARCE d/w 1953 Kingsley Amis
#5 tie $2,935.50 Harry Potter Half Blood Prince JK Rowling signed HB 1/1
#7 $2,815.99 ray bradbury FAHRENHEIT 451 FIRST ED 1953 HARDBACK fn.
#8 $2,646.70 LUCKY JIM 1st UK original SCARCE d/w 1953 Kingsley Amis
#9 2,386.81 A MIND TO MURDER by P.D. JAMES-1ST UK ED-HB DJ-1963
#10 $2,211.55 Tolkien-Lord of the Rings 1963 A&U DELUXE EDITION

*This auction appears to be repeated with no evidence of completed purchase. The sale price has not been validated and this auction has been retired from Top 10 on eBay. See #2 for details.

** Non-registered buyer so sale not completed and final value not validated.

***Hijacked buyer ID. This auction was removed from eBay after the sale. The same book was relisted and sold as #8 on this list (see #8 for details from the seller). The sale price of #5 has not been validated.

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sold as a BIN, the 1925 book in this private auction with 7 photos is a first edition, first printing. Sold by a UK seller, the auction details the 6 "correct issue points of a true first printing." One aspect of the auction was confusing. In large print, it stated, "FIRST ISSUE DUSTJACKET," yet in the condition statement, it said, "A beautiful fascsimile dustjacket, accompanies this book: Reproduced from a first issue dustjacket."

William Shakespeare
First Folio

Remember the 200+ page auction from the rambling UK seller? Well, he's back. The seller is auctioning a "First Folio Shakespeare" in a 10-day auction at least 9 photos. Looks like he struck out. Purchased by a novice buyer, the transaction shows no feedback as of February 1 and the seller seems to have relisted it and changed his selling name. This seemingly ill-fated item is hereby retired from contention in BookThink's Top 10

A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess

Called "a stunning copy of the first printing of the first edition of 'A Clockwork Orange," the book was listed in 10-day auction with 5 photos. It was offered by a UK seller. Described as fine with a "virtually fine" dust jacket, the book sold with one bid at $3,913.98.

The Naked and the Dead
Norman Mailer

Just when you thought the anomalies were over, a "not a registered user" failed to purchase this signed first edition of The Naked and the Dead. The US seller saw the auction end with a BIN on December 12th, and thus missing the height of the Christmas selling season.

#5*** tie
Lucky Jim
Kingsley Amis

Only his knowledge and experience kept the UK seller of #5 from problems selling this copy of Lucky Jim. For the inside story, see #8.

#5 tie
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
J.K. Rowling

Sold as a BIN, the "signed childrens cover first print from the actual launch at Edinburgh castle 2005" sold at private auction with 1 bid. Described as in fine condition, the book was accompanied by various proofs of its being signed at the event. The seller focused as much space on casting doubt on the validity of other seller's similar items/signatures as on describing the book for sale.

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

The US seller describes this copy of Fahrenheit 451 as a "first printing hardback the scarce cloth issue H-41, in fine unmarked condition with bright near fine dust jacket." Listed in a 7-day auction with 4 photos, the book sold for $2,815.99 after 26 bids.

Lucky Jim
Kingsley Amis

When the UK seller saw something suspicious about a bidder, he worked for a solution. "The first one [auction #5 above] was sabotaged by someone who hijacked a genuine bidder's ID," he explained. "It looked 'wrong' to me straight away, and I contacted eBay immediately. They cancelled the deal and I relisted. The second sale was a genuine deal with a great customer I've sold to before." With the hijacked auction cleared from eBay, the second auction went online the next day in a 7-day listing with 7 photos. It sold with 5 bids for $2,646.70.

A Mind to Murder
P.D. James

Described as an "extremely scarce first edition in fine condition," this first UK edition was listed by a seller in Scotland in a 10-day auction with 2 photos. After 16 bids, it sold for $2,386.81.

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

"The very rare 1963 George Allen & Unwin deluxe box set with the original Pauline Baynes 'Triptych' slipcase" came in at #10. It was listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 12 photos. Described as in very good condition, the auction received 14 bids and sold for $2,211.55.


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