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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
January 2006

by Pamela Palmer

#63, 266 March 2006

    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.

During January, sellers grew terse. The briefest listing covered barely more than two lines and detailed description was rare. Three sellers with 1 feedback each made big sales; 2 of them had feedback only as buyers. It was a month of multiples: 3 Flemings, 2 Pullmans, 2 Mandelas, and 2 Narcotics Anonymous made the list. As for extremes, they ranged from Wordsworth to Sinn Féin.

Fiction Top 10
January 2006

#2 $7,601.11 STEPHEN KING Dark Tower 1-4 Limited Signed all #456
#3 $3,705.23 George Orwell Animal Farm 1st Edition HB DW Exc. Cond.
#4 $3,617.23 Ian Fleming Live & Let Die 1954 HB DJ 007 James Bond
#5 $3,437.07 RARE John Le Carre CALL FOR THE DEAD - SIGNED - UK 1/1
#7 $2,185.99 Ian Fleming - Moonraker - James Bond 1st Edition HB DJ
#9 $1,782.15 harry potter goblets of fire signed on hogworts express

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
by Ian Fleming

Requiring shipping by FedEx, the US seller listed a first edition and "the author's only signed Limited Edition, number 186 out of only 250 copies printed." In fine condition with the original plastic dust jacket, this book is housed in a custom box. Offered in a 10-day auction. It received 1 bid at the starting price off $7,999. One picture shows the book and custom box.

Dark Tower
The Gunslinger
The Drawing of the Three
The Waste Lands
Wizard and Glass

by Stephen King

All 4 volumes are #456 of a limited edition signed by Stephen King. They are all fine in fine dust jackets; volume IV is sealed. The US seller offered this set in a 7-day auction with 8 photographs. The auction received 5 bids, moving it from a starting bid of $5,995 to end at $7,601.11.

Animal Farm
by George Orwell

Illustrated with 8 photographs, this 10-day auction with reserve garnered 10 bids, raising the starting GBP 300 to $3705.23. The UK seller, refined his description to note, "THE REVERSE OF THE DUSTWRAPPER IS PRINTED IN RED AND THE WRITING ON THE BACK PANEL OF THE DUSTWRAPPER IS PRINTED IN GREEN." This 1945 hardback is in "excellent condition." The condition of the dustwrapper is not stated. One person asked if the dustwrapper is a facsimile, and the seller replied, "I understand that the dustjacket is the original one."

Live And Let Die
by Ian Fleming

Listed by UK seller for 7 days, this first edition of the second James Bond novel is described as "a very good plus copy in a nice bright dust jacket." Two photographs illustrate the auction. Twenty-three bids raised the GBP 4.99 starting price to $3617.23.

Call For The Dead
by John le Carre

Stating that he was selling this book "to raise urgently needed funds," the UK seller sold it as a BIN 9 minutes after listing. Calling it "the rarest of all Le Carre books," the seller notes that it is signed twice by the author, once using his pseudonym and once using his real name. Also included in the auction is a typed letter signed by David Cornwell and addressed to the seller. Jacket is in very good condition, is not price clipped, and is missing to very small pieces. The book is in very good condition with a light age tanning. Five photographs are included in the auction which closed at $3437.07.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Published in 1905, this first edition, first issue is described as in very good condition by the UK seller. Listed in a 10-day auction with 2 photographs, the book sold on 1 bid at $2205.61.

by Ian Fleming

25 bids raised the GBP .99 starting price to $2185.99 in a 1-day auction by UK seller. This first edition, first impression copy is listed as in very good plus condition in the original dust jacket. The dust jacket is unusually bright with a sunned spine; it has been price clipped, and is missing small chips. The seller notes that it "does not have shoo for shoot on page 10." Nine photographs are included in the auction.

Northern Lights
by Philip Pullman

Assuring potential bidders that this first edition, first printing is not ex-library, the UK seller started this 7-day auction at GBP .01. After receiving 21 bids, it sold for $1912.52. Described as seemingly unread, the book contains a Raven bookplate on the copyright page; Pullman hand signed the book at the Dorchester Abbey Arts Festival, and the original ticket is included. The dust jacket has minor shelfwear and is lightly sunned. The same seller sold #10.

Goblets of Fire
by J.K.Rowling

In one of the briefest top 10 auctions ever, this UK seller with 1 feedback listed an unread hardback signed aboard the Hogwort's Express. Even with no photograph, the 3-day auction with reserve received 4 bids, taking it from GBP 300 to a selling price of $1782.15.

Northern Lights
by Philip Pullman

The same UK seller as in #8 sold another copy of Northern Lights. The book and dust jacket are described as clean and bright. It is not ex-library, and was listed for 5 days with 9 photographs. The auction started it GBP .01, received 23 bids, and ended at $1648.03.


Non-Fiction Top Ten
January 2006

#1 $3,383.34 Helmut Newton's Sumo by Helmut Newton (2000)
#2 $2,743.04 Long Walk to Freedom - N Mandela, SIGNED Deluxe Edition
#3 $2,014.00 1938 "COLLECTING GOLF BOOKS - 1743 - 1938" HC, DJ
#4 $2,000.00 Long Walk to Freedom-SIGNED DELUXE EDITION
#5 $1,995.00 Wordsworth's Poetical Works - Authentic 1837 Signed !!!
#6 $1691.00 Foto-Auge 1929 ( 1st edition) not the later reprint
#7 $1,631.00 Narcotics Anonymous Red First Edition #1742 Pub 1982
#8 $1,541.40 CHAGALL by Jacques Lassaigne
#9 tie $1,525.00 Narcotics Anonymous : approved literature by Narcoti...
#9 tie $1,525.00 Sinn Fein Book Signed by Gerry Adams, Ireland Irish

by Helmut Newton

After the novice US seller launched this auction with minimal verbiage, he spent time answering questions. "How used is this book," one person asked. "It has been on display in my house for 12 months, looked through by myself and some houseguests. That's all. It is effectively, as new..." Asked what he meant about the book being in excellent condition with a brand-new cover, he answered that "I have a New slip cover from Taschen ...." The 5-day auction with 4 photographs attracted 11 bids, raising it from the $2100 starting bid to sell for $3,383.34.

Long Walk To Freedom
by Nelson Mandela

Selling for $2,743.04, this is a hand-signed, leather-bound volume in a slipcase. It is number 151 of the limited edition of 250. Described by the UK seller as unread, the book is shown in 2 photographs. Listed for 10 days, the auction started GBP 1250 and after 4 bids ended at $2743.04.

Collecting Golf Books, 1743 - 1938
by Cecil Hopkinson

Described as "Terrific high-grade 56-page hardcover book from 1938...," the book with dust jacket sold for $2014. Listed by US seller in a 10-day auction with 2 photographs, it attracted 30 bids that raised it from its starting price of $.99.

Long Walk To Freedom
by Nelson Mandela

Another novice seller did well with a first auction. This UK seller used a 10-day auction with 1 photograph. The book is described as, "a leather bound collector's edition ... signed by the author Nelson Mandela." Ornately decorated with 22kt gold accents, the book attracted 1 bid and sold for its starting price of $2000.

Wordsworth's Poetical Works
by William Wordsworth

Signed by the editor, Henry Reed, this leather-bound book is described as being in very good condition. The sole flaw listed is slight water damage on the edge of 5 pages of this 1837 book. The US seller listed it for 10 days with a starting bid of $1995; it received 1 bid to sell at its starting price.


This 1929 Japanese block book is the first edition and not the later reprint. Described as an "extremely good and clean copy," there is a small crack in the cover with slight discoloration. Three photographs illustrate the auction. The Netherlands seller opened the 7-day auction at $1. After 24 bids, it sold for $1691.

Narcotics Anonymous

Published in 1982, this red first edition copy is #1742 of 2000. The pages are described as in like new condition; the only flaw mentioned is a slight binding crease. Listed by a US seller, the 5-day auction with 2 photographs started it $1500 and, after 5 bids, ended at $1631.

by Jacques Lassaigne

The 1957 first edition with a glassine dust jacket was published in Paris by Maeght Editeur. Described as in excellent condition, the only flaw is a 1" tear in the dust jacket. The UK seller listed it in a 7-day auction with 3 photographs. Fourteen bids took it from a starting bid of GBP 199 to the selling price of $1,541.40.

#9 tie
Narcotics Anonymous

Flaws in this red first edition include a cover crease and 2 stickers inside. One is a smiley face and the other is a teddy bear. This is number 1605 of 2000 printed. Listed in a 7-day auction with reserve, the auction attracted 5 bids. The starting price was $1400, and the book sold for $1525.

#9 tie
Sinn Féin

Offered for sale by the Sinn Féin book shop, this heavily autographed copy was 1 of 5 signed at the organization's centenary dinner. The book itself is a history of the group, and the 14 signing include current leaders, such as Gerry Adams, Bik McFarlane, and Martin Meehan. Listed from Ireland for 10 days, the auction received 52 bids, taking it from the $100 starting bid to a $1525 selling price.

By the Numbers

10 of the sellers were from the UK
8 of the sellers were from the US
1 seller was from Ireland
1 seller was from the Netherlands
1 seller sold 2 books, both Northern Lights
14 sellers has 100% feedback
1 seller had 99.2 feedback, the lowest percentage
3 sellers had 1 feedback - 2 of them had only buyer feedback
8 were listed for 10 days
6 were listed for 7 days
3 were listed for 5 days
1 were listed for 3 days
1 was listed for 1 day
1 sold as BIN purchases
3 used reserves
1 to 52 was the range of bids
5 auctions had 1 bid
1 was an auction for Sinn Féin
15 books were published in 1950 or after
1837 was the earliest date of publication


Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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