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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
May 2007

by Pamela Palmer

#101, 20 August 2007

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. 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

Are the rich different? When it comes to eBay, they are. Many of the high-end books that hang out in the Antiquarian & Collectible category are featured in lavish auctions showcasing them in dozens of photographs. Classic works of the 15th or 16th century are more typical than limited editions by Stephen King.

This month, Top 10 on eBay expands to cover the top 5 in the Antiquarian & Collectible category. They aren't included in By The Numbers; you'll find them on page 3 of this article. As usual, live auction items are excluded.

In the Top 10 Fiction and Non-Fiction lists, May was a month of ties (10) and NARUs (5 with 2 by one "buyer").

Fiction Top 10
May 2007

#1 $2,400.00 Stephen King - Dark Tower IV - VII Signed Limited #642
#2 $2,214.89 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest KEN KESEY 1st/ 1st HC/DJ
#3 $1,700.00 LOT OF 5 Raymond Chandler 1st Editions, w/ dust jackets
#4 tie $1,600.00 The Dark Tower VII Stephen King
#4 tie $1,600.00 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: The Sirens of Titan
#4* tie $1,600.00 Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly first edition
#7 tie $1,500.00 Stephen King - Salem's Lot - Signed Limited #19
#7 tie $1,500,00 tie The Talisman and The Black House by Stephen King Set
#10 tie $1,380.55 Extremely Rare Dean Koontz Amber Gracie SHARE THE WARM

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

The Dark Tower IV - VII
The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla
The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower

Stephen King

Each of the 4 titles is a limited edition #642 published by Donald Grant, is in a slipcase, and is signed by both Stephen King and the artist. There are a total of 7 volumes with the last three in shrink wrap. Condition and slip case condition are described as very fine. Listed for 7 days with 5 photos by a US seller, the auction ended with 1 bid. The same seller sold #7 (1st listed among those tied for #7).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Ken Kesey

Listed by a US seller for 10 days with 16 photos, the book is described as a "true first edition …[in a] first issue jacket. Points are listed in detail, including 'that fool Red Cross woman' on page 9, lines 12-13." Described as "very good+/very good condition" with a good condition dust jacket in Mylar, the book attracted 6 bids and sold for $2,214.89.

Farewell My Lovely
The High Window
The Little Sister
The Long Goodbye Playback

Raymond Chandler

A US seller with 6 feedbacks listed the 5-title lot for 7 days with 12 photos. 2 of the books are described as very good/good; 2 are very good/very good; and 1 is fine/near fine. Listed in a 7-day auction with 12 photos, they attracted 3 bids and sold for $1,700.

#4 tie
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower
Stephen King

The Sirens of Titan
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly*
Harriet Beecher Stowe

In a 3-way tie, King and Vonnegut tied with an 1852 2-volume set by Harriet Beecher Stowe. King's Dark Tower was listed by an Australian seller and sold as a Best Offer. It's described as a very fine copy of the first trade edition with "an original, signed Remarque by Michael Whelan. Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan is a first hardcover edition with the original dust jacket. It was offered by a US seller and sold as a BIN. Uncle Tom's Cabin sold as a BIN to a buyer with 0 feedback who is no longer a registered user.

#7 tie
Salem's Lot
Stephen King

Heart-Shaped Box*
20th Century Ghosts

Joe Hill

The Talisman*
The Black House

Stephen King

Another 3-way tie is at #7. Salem's Lot is #19 of a limited edition of 300 signed copies. It was signed by both King and Jerry Uelsmann, bound in Japanese cloth and in a slipcase. The US seller listed it in a 7-day auction with 3 photos and points to the significance of the #19 for King fans. It sold with 1 bid. The same seller sold #1. Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts and Heart-Shaped Box in deluxe signed editions received 1 bid from a seller who is no longer a registered user. The same NARU repeated the offence with the duo by Stephen King.

Share the Warm Flesh
Amber Gracie, pseud. Dean Koontz

Called "extremely rare," the 1970 adult paperback is generally credited to Dean Koontz writing as Amber Gracie though he has not confirmed the pseudonym. The US seller listed it in a 7-day auction with 3 photos and describes the only flaw as the "tiniest amount of cover edge wear." After 10 bids, it sold for $1,380.55.

Non-Fiction Top 10
May 2007

#2 $4,500.00* Frank Moore, Diary of The American Revolution
#3 $3,739.00 RARE! 1548 Edition of 12 Language New Testament Polyglo
#4 $2,500.00 Saur 1776 Gun Wad German Bible Germantown PA
#5 tie $2,475.00 Narcotics Anonymous approved literature, New Condition
#5 tie $2,475.00 Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text Collection-Complete
#7 tie $2,000.00* stars and their cars-1972 great condition,rare piece-
#7 tie $2,000.00 1854 LDS Mormon Hymnbook printed in Liverpool
#9 $1,800.00 Le Corbusier et P. Jeanneret - L'Architecture Vivante
#10 $1,775.00 Margin of Safety by Seth A. Klarman (1991)

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

Alcoholics Anonymous

Signed by Bill W, the 1st edition, 13th printing of Alcoholics Anonymous was described as in good condition with the original dust jacket. Book flaws include a slight slant; the dust jacket has tears and chips. Listed in a 7-day auction with 8 photos by a US seller, the book received 26 bids and sold for $5,692.75.

Diary of the American Revolution
Frank Moore

A NARU caused the charity sale of Diary of the American Revolution to go awry. Listed by a US seller to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Vermont, the listing closed with a BIN.

New Testament
[2 volumes, Polyglot]

A 1549 German publication in 2 volumes with the original bindings, the polyglot New Testament contains 12 languages. Described as in good condition, they were listed by a US seller with 4 photos.

[Christopher Saur Bible, also called Gun-Wad Bible]

A US seller listed this 1776 rebound/repaired Bible in a 7-day auction with 12 photos. Pages 3-4 are missing. After 4 bids, it sold for $2,500.

#5 tie
It Works
Narcotics Anonymous

It Works
Narcotics Anonymous
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th editions

Copies of It Works tied for #5. In the first auction listed above, a US seller listed #725 of the first edition red book in a 7-day auction with 7 photos. Described as "this highly controversial printing," this copy is flawed by the front cover being .5 cm shorter than the back cover that the seller notes is "fairly common to this edition." The second listed auction included 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th editions. The 1st edition has a blue binding. Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 1 photo, the lot received 13 bids.

In a rare outcome, the seller of this unnamed book went NARU. The auction ended on April 4, and after puzzling over the book's identity, BookThink emailed the seller 8 days later but received no response. A quick double check of the auction in late June revealed the seller, who has 81 feedbacks and a 96.6% positive rating, is now NARU. In the auction, the seller told of an early Westchester County NY house, long in the same family. When it finally sold, the new owners set about renovating only to uncover a cache of items sealed in a wall. This book is said to have been among them. At the time BookThink first viewed the auction, only a photograph of a drawing remained online.*** The buyer from the Netherlands had 3 feedbacks at the on April 12. For this transaction, the seller left positive feedback for the buyer but did not receive feedback from the buyer.

#7 tie
Stars and Their Cars*
George Harris

Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Le Corbusier et P. Jeanneret

Tied at #7, a book on celebrity card, a Mormon hymnal, and a French architecture book, each selling for $2,000. Stars and Their Cars closed with a BIN from a no longer registered user. It was listed by a US seller with no photos. Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs… a 1854 Morman title, was listed with 5 photos by a US seller. It sold as a BIN. The third listing was a "complete series of 5 rare, 1930s loose leaf, hardcover wraps with cloth spines." The volumes are in fair condition. The lot sold as a BIN.

Margin of Safety
Seth A. Klarman

New and unread, Margin of Safety's flaw is light dust jacket shelfwear. Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 2 photos, it received 23 bids to sell as $1,775.

By the Numbers

19 sellers were from the USA
1 seller was from Australia
1 seller sold 2 books
13 books were published during or after 1950
7 were published before 1950
1 book was listed for 5 days
9 books were listed for 7 days
1 book was listed for 10 days
8 sold as BIN
1 sold as a Best Offer
1 to 29 was the range of bids
Seller feedback ranged from 5 to 10,799.*
11 books were sold by sellers with 100% positive feedback
Feedback ranged from 94.7% to 100% for sellers who had feedback
The oldest book was published in 1548.

*feedback is noted at the time the auction is viewed by BookThink.

Antiquarian & Collectible Top 5
May 2007

#2 $29,254.64 Rare 1842 Robert's Holy Land & Egypt Large Folio 3 Vol.
#4 $15,000.00 Chapman Homer Iliad 1611 1st Ed 17th Century Sheepskin
#5 tie $12,000.00 1494, 1498, 1502/3 3 in 1 RARE WORKS / PAULUS VENETUS

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

Book of Mormon

Listed by a seller in Provo, Utah in a 5-day auction with 12 photos, the "Actual first edition 1830 Book of Mormon in its original binding" sold after 2 bids for $85,000 to a buyer with 2 feedbacks. As of 3 months after the sale, neither buyer nor seller had left feedback for the other. The item was for pick-up only and was described as in good condition with no markings and 3 missing pages. Payment was specified as by wire transfer fund or cashiers check when picking up the book. A $500 deposit by PayPal was required immediately upon winning.

Holy Land & Egypt
David Roberts

The 3-volume "large folio leather bound books" date from the 1840s and have "colored/tinted plates, all drawn on stone by Louis Haghe after David Roberts." Bound in Moroccan leather with gilt page edges, the condition is described as "good, considering the age; restorable." 2 volumes have a detached front covers. The 10-day auction with app. 82 photos was listed by a US seller. It attracted 36 bids and closed at $29,254.64.

["Book of Hours, Use of Windesheim Illuminated Manuscript in Latin on Parchment Belgium, Brabant / Liege, c. 1450"]

Called "Very extraordinary and rare," the c1450 book of hours originated in the eastern Netherlands and contains 8 "illuminated historiated initials," as well as other illumination. Bound in "nineteenth-century red morocco," the book is "handwritten and handpainted on real vellum." The US seller listed it in a 10-day auction with 26 photos. Payment was limited to bank cashier's check or money order with shipment after payment cleared. After 33 bids, the auction ended at $21,500.

The Illiads of Homer, Prince of Poets. Never Before In Any Languag Truly Translated, with a Comment Uppon Some of his Chiefe Places; Donne According to the Greeke by Geo: Chapman

The first issue, first edition of Chapman's Homer was listed by a Canadian seller in a 7-day auction with app. 45 photos. It sold as a BIN for $15,000. Published in 1611, the folio includes "the unsigned sheet of sonnets ... of which previously only six copies had been traced." The seller cited Pforzheimer as the source for the number of extant copies containing the sonnet. Calling the title "strictly contemporary, early 17th century, English sheepskin binding, which is in completely original …condition," the seller noted strong hinges.

#5 tie
Pulpit Folio
King James Version
59 Line Ed.

Pauli Veneti Logica
Expositio in libros Posteriorum Aristotelis
1494 1502 / 1503
Summa philosophie naturalis magistri Pauli veneti novi / ter recognita…


The 2-way tie at #5 features a 1639 Bible and a late 15th century set of three works in 1 volume. Featured in 12 photos, the pulpit folio Bible was listed by a US seller in a 10-day auction. It was recently rebound in full speckled calf. In a detailed description, the seller notes it is 16.5" talk and 4.75" thick. Shipping is set at $65 and is by Express Mail for overnight delivery.

The 3 volumes-in-1 set dates from around 1500. A UK seller listed it in a 7-day auction with 37 photos. Called a "very rare and important work," the volume is 340 mm long and 70 mm thick. It attracted 9 bids and sold for $12,000.

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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