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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
August 2006

by Pamela Palmer

#79, 16 October 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.

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

Both fiction and non-fiction winners reached 5 digits in August with non-fiction taking the lead. Would you have guessed Galileo could beat Tolkien? Other numbers kept the month interesting. One UK seller sold 3 on the fiction list, and 3 purchases were made by buyers who are now "not a registered user." The month also saw diverse reasons for selling, ranging from college money to that old favorite - the horses.

Fiction Top 10
August 2006

#1 $11,812.91 J.R.R.Tolkien..The Lord of the Rings..1-1-1 set in d/ws
#3 $4,079.98 Rupert Brooke - Signature to H Belloc's " On Nothing "
#4 $3,100.00 Stephen King Regulators (signed) *LETTERED* (UU)
#5 $2,500.00* Fantasic Art of Frank Frazetta SIGNED BY FRAZETTA
#7 $2,458.07 Ian Fleming -- Moonraker -- True 1st in d/w..Cape 1955.
#8 $2,000.00* Day It Snowed in L A by Charles Bukowski (1986)
#9 $1,895.48 C.S.Lewis.The Horse and His Boy..1st in D/w.1954..Bles

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

J.R.R. Tolkien

Selling for $11,812.91, the set consisted of 3 un-restored first editions/first impressions in original dust jackets. The first two titles are in very good condition and the third is in fine condition. Maps are in fine condition. Listed by a UK seller, the 10-day auction with 11 photos attracted 42 bids. In response to a question, the seller clarified that The Two Towers is dated 1954, not 1955 as listed in the presentation. The same seller also sold #7 and #9.

Dark Materials Trilogy
Northern Lights
The Subtle Knife
Amber Spyglass

Phillip Pullman

A set of 1st editions/1st impressions by Pullman came in at #2. Listed by a UK seller at GBP 2,950.00, it sold at that price with 1 bid after a 7-day auction with 12 photos. Each of the 3 titles in the set is signed on the title page by the author; Northern Lights is signed in black rather than Pullman's usual blue ink. In addition, Northern Lights has a Pullman-signed bookplate. The seller remarked these were sold "to finance my other hobby - horses."

On Nothing and Kindred Subjects
Hilaire Belloc

Belloc's 1908 book is remarkable primarily for its Rupert Brooke signature, indicating it was Brooke's personal copy. The signature is on the front free endpaper. Described as in good condition with some fading and a "small ink mark to front cover," the book was listed by a UK seller for 10 days with 5 photos. It started at GBP 49.99, received 39 bids, and sold for $4,079.98.

The Regulators
Stephen King

Listed by a US seller with 4 photos, The Regulators ended with a BIN at the starting bid of $3,100. Described as in mint condition, this unread book is a lettered copy UU, 1 of 52 printed.

The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta
Frank Frazetta

Purchased 2 days after listing as a BIN, the copy was purchased as a BIN by a buyer who is now a non-registered user. It was shown in 2 photos and is described by the US seller as a "signed presentation copy." The paperback is a later copy in very good condition.

The Gunslinger
Stephen King

A signed, limited edition, this copy of The Gunslinger is #326 of 500. David Whelan is the artist. Listed in mint condition and "still in the hard sleeve in which it was originally distributed," the book was listed by a US seller and shown in 2 photos. It sold as a BIN in just over 2 hours.

Ian Fleming

Sold by the UK seller of #1 and #9, the 1st edition, 1st impression copy of Moonraker is shown in 6 photos. The book and original dust jacket are in near fine condition. Listed for 7 days, the auction attracted 36 bids and ended at $2,458.07.

The Day It Snowed in L.A.
Charles Bukowski

In a terse listing consisting of item specifics and delivery information, the US seller listed this 1986 new softcover with 1 photo. Sold as a BIN for $2,000, the winner was a buyer who also won #5 and is "no longer a registered user."

The Horse and His Boy
C.S. Lewis

Sold by the same UK seller as #1 and #7, this 1st edition, 1st impression of The Horse and His Boy, was listed with 5 photos. The book was listed in very good condition and the original dust jacket in near fine condition. It sold as a BIN for $1,895.48.

Brideshead Revisited
Evelyn Waugh

Called a "stunning copy," the "first trade printing of the first edition," is described as a very near fine copy in a very near fine dust jacket. Listed by a UK seller for 10 days with 6 photos, the book sold at the starting price of GBP 999.99, or $1,895.18.

*Auctions marked with an asterisk indicate those won by a bidder who is no longer a registered user. The final value should not be interpreted as valid.


Non-Fiction Top 10
August 2006

#1 $15,400.00 Antique Book - GALILEO ALLE MACCHIE SOLARI - Rome 1613
#3 $2,711.60 Narcotics Anonymous : approved literature by Narcotic..
#4 $2,200.00 1977 Kanei Uechi Okinawa Karate Uechi-Ryu KYOHON 1325PG
#5 $2,122.62 Pink Floyd Nick Mason Inside Out Genesis Ltd Edition
#7 $2,000.00* Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur…
#8 $1,817.50 Racehorses of 1951 - Timeform - Rare
#10 $1,575.02 Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman - NEW condition

Galileo Alle Macchie Solari

Back for a second time, this book was pulled earlier by the seller to have it evaluated. After taking it to several experts, the seller described it as complete and in very good condition. The 1613 book contains 3 Galileo letters about sunspots, along with plates. The text is in Latin. Sold under a new ID especially created for this book, the 7-day auction with 6 photos attracted 46 bids, raising the starting bid of $9.95 to a selling price of $15,400 - a good start for the seller who wants college money.

An American Life
Ronald Reagan

In a private auction with 4 bids, a signed copy of An American Life sold for $4,500. Shown in 2 photos, the book is described as in excellent condition. The 5-day auction started at $130.

Narcotics Anonymous

The 1st edition, #416 red cover book is described as in like new condition "except for inscription of original owners name who has been credited with the establishment of NA in Bay City, Michigan." Listed by a US seller with in a 7-day auction with 3 photos, the book started at $1,500, received 14 bids, and closed at $2,711.60.

Okinawa Karatedo
aka Kyohon
Kanei Uechi

Listed by a Japanese seller who says he regularly sells this title, the volume and slipcase are described as having few flaws. Typical fading and staple-rusting is not present with this copy. The auction included at least 16 photos and ended with a BIN at $2,200.

Inside Out: A Personal Story of Pink Floyd
Nick Mason

This copy of Genesis Publication's Inside Out is #459 of 500 in a limited edition. The boxed set is in "pristine condition, unused and unread" with the original packaging. Listed in a 10-day auction with 1 photo, the set attracted 6 bids, raising it from the listing price of GBP 995.00 to $2,122.62.

An Account of the Native Africans in the Neighborhood of Sierra Leone…
Thomas Winterbottom, M.D.

The 1803 hardcover is described as "clean and free from foxing." Maps and plates are present, as are the preliminary and errata pages. Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 7 photos, the book received 16 bids taking it from its $225 starting bid to close at $2,102.77.

Narrative of the Travel and Adventures of Monsieur Violet,
In California, Sonora & Western Texas

Capt. Marryat

This 1843 1st edition is ex-library twice over and is volume 3 of a 3-volume set. Listed by a US seller with 6 photos, the auction ended at the BIN price of $2000, purchased by a buyer who is now a non-registered user.

Racehorses of 1951

Listed by a UK seller along with 1 photo, the book is described as having "very slight signs of wear." It attracted 24 bids in the 10-day auction, selling for $1,817.50.

Verve: The Last Works of Henri Matisse
Pierre Reverdy and Georges Duthuit

In this, volume 9, no. 35-36 issue of Verve, the cover was composed by Matisse "and the lithograph plates printed during 1954 under his direction." Described by the UK seller as in very good condition internally with minor dings on the cover, the volume attracted 25 bids, raising it from the GBP 0.99 starting bid to sell for $1,647.94. The auction included 10 photos.

Margin of Safety
Seth A. Klarman

Listed as "New, in pristine condition, and has never been read or seen a public library shelf, the book in dust jacket was listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 1 photo. After 14 bids, it sold for $1,575,02.

By the Numbers

9 of the sellers were from the UK
10 of the sellers were from the USA
1 of the sellers was from Japan
1 seller sold 3 books
3 books sold to non-registered buyers
15 books were published during or after 1950
5 were published before 1950
1 book was listed for 5 days
6 books were listed for 7 days
6 books were listed for 10 days
7 sold as BIN
1 to 42 is the range of bids
1 was a private auction
Seller feedback ranged from 19 to 2229
13 sellers had 100% positive feedback
Feedback ranged from 95.2% to 100%
The oldest book was published in 1613

*Auctions marked with an asterisk indicate those won by a bidder who is no longer a registered user. The final value should not be interpreted as valid.

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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