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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
November 2006

by Pamela Palmer

#85, 8 January 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. 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

    The clock turned back in November with several volumes well past the century mark. There was a 1795 Theory of the Earth ..., Bibles dating from 1663 and 1583, and an 1846 edition of The Christmas Carol. To take the lists from the ridiculous to the sublime, there were O.J.'s book in the fiction category and the New Naturalist's The Hebrides.

    Fiction Top 10
    November 2006

    #1 $15,062.93 J R R Tolkien Lord of the Rings 3 vol 1st/1st 1954-55
    #2 $8,300.00* IF I DID IT - O.J. Simpson's Confession Book
    #3 $4,757.22 Ian Fleming THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN UK 1st
    #4 $4,539.03 Ian Fleming MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN UK 1st / 1st state!
    #5 $4,000.00 Stephen King- The Regulators Lettered Edition
    #6 $3,951.00 Stephen King The Gunslinger Signed Limited Edition Rare
    #7 $3,422.53 Ian Fleming MOONRAKER 1st 1955 hc/dj Great Spine!
    #8 $3,186.98 Dickens' A Christmas Carol 1846 1st Bradbury&Evans Ed.
    #10 $2,754.57 PHILIP PULLMAN - DARK MATERIALS SET 1,2,3 - 1ST ED
    *Auction removed by eBay after closing. The buyer's feedback indicates the buyer and seller "agreed not to complete transaction." The sale was not completed and final value not validated.

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

    J.R.R. Tolkien

    A best offer purchased the set of 1st edition, 1st impression books. Sold in 2 days by a UK seller in a listing with 12 photos, the books are described as very good to near fine with dust jackets and maps.

    If I Did It
    O.J. Simpson

    Who cares about the never released Simpson book? At least 30 bidders on eBay do. And one cared enough to pay $8,300. Listed with 5 photos by a US seller who ended the auction early to accept the current highest bid after little more than a day, the book is described as a gift to the seller. The auction was removed by eBay after closing. The buyer's feedback indicates the buyer and seller "agreed not to complete transaction." The sale was not completed and final value not validated.

    The Man With the Golden Gun
    Ian Fleming

    The "very rare UK 1st edition, 1st impression 1965, with EMBOSSED GUN" copy is one of 150 copies with this feature. Described as near fine, the book was listed by an Australian seller in a listing with 8 photos. It sold as a BIN. The same seller listed #7.

    The Man With the Golden Gun
    Ian Fleming

    Another embossed gun copy of The Man With the Golden Gun was listed by a German seller with 4 photos after the #3 auction ended and used the same terminology to describe the embossed gun as "a cracker, shiny and bright." Described as in fine condition in a very good dust jacket, the book sold as a BIN.

    The Regulators
    Richard Bachman (pseud. of Stephen King)

    One of 52 lettered editions, this is UU. Described as "Hand bound in Brown Morocco Leather and Winchester 30 caliber bullets ... housed in a hand made faux-ammunition box covered in wood veneer with gold stamping on the side," the auction contains a link to a website about authentic Stephen King signatures. Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 2 photos, it received 2 bids to sell for $4,000.

    The Gunslinger
    Stephen King

    14 bids took the $999.99 opening price to $3,951 in a 5-day auction with 1 photo. Listed by a US seller, the book is described as "one of the 500 signed and numbered edition, signed by both King and Whelan. #368 of 500."

    Ian Fleming

    Listed by the seller of #3, this copy of Moonraker sold as a BIN the day after it was listed with 9 photos. The book and the dust jacket are rated very good. The relatively small flaws are described in detail.

    A Christmas Carol
    Charles Dickens

    The 1846 copy is called "the very scarce- ' with 12 photos, the book received 5 bids and sold for $3,186.98. The seller gave the publication history of The Christmas Carol from its 1st publication in 1843. The book is leather bound with gilt and raised bands. It has the original end papers.

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    Lewis Carroll (Illustrated by Salvador Dali)

    The Dali Portfolio contains "twelve illustrations with original woodcuts and an original etching by Salvador Dali." Listed by a US seller in a 10-day auction with 9 photos, the 1969 book is #548 of 2,500 numbered portfolios and is signed by Dali. The flaw listed is "original housing is quite worn as shown." Text and illustrations are described as in mint condition.

    His Dark Materials
    Northern Lights
    The Subtle Knife
    The Amber Spyglass
    Lyra's Oxford

    Philip Pullman

    The set of signed 1st edition, 1st printings was listed by a UK seller in a 7-day auction with 12 photos. One volume is described as excellent; two are described as outstanding; and one is described as very fine. They sold with 1 bid at the starting price. The questions from other members are an unusual factor. Twice the auction was spammed by "questions" that started "hi: We are a large wholesaler who mainly sells electronic products...." Wonder why the seller decided to post the spam along with real questions?


    Non-Fiction Top 10
    November 2006

    #1 $5,434.10 Die Baukunst Konstantinoples by Cornelius Gurlitt,1912
    #3 $2,250.99 RARE! Geneva Bible Printed 1583
    #4 $2,201.00 Narcotics Anonymous (1983)
    #5 $2,000.00 Rare Old King James Authorized Bible (1663)
    #8 $1,492.00 Abraham Lincoln The War Years SIGNED & FIRST Edition
    #9 $1,469.87 New Naturalist No 76 The Hebrides
    #10 $1,340.66 JAMES HUTTON, HISTORY OF THE EARTH, 1795, VOL 1 ONLY

    Die Baukunst Konstantinopels
    Cornelius Gurlitt

    The 3-volume ex-library set includes "two large folio volumes of plates and one large folio volume of text to accompany the plates." Text is in German. Listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with over 25 photos, the set attracted 6 bids and sold to a novice buyer. Just short of 2 months after the sale there is still no feedback recorded for the purchaser. You may recall this title from October. From examination of the pictures and text, this appears to be a relisting of the same set.

    Oliver Rackham

    Newly issued, the deluxe limited edition of the New Naturalist book is a leatherbound first edition. It is #31 of the 100 copies printed and is signed by the author. Listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 3 photos, the auction attracted 22 bids and sold at $3,949.20.

    1583 Geneva Bible

    Printed in London by the Queen's printer, the folio size Bible was donated to the Berkeley Divinity School and later moved to the Yale Divinity School before being sold to another institution that is selling their collection. The 5-day auction with 5 photos attracted 23 bids, closing at $2,250.99.

    It Works
    Narcotics Anonymous

    The 1st edition #406 copy of It Works has one flaw, the seller reported. It's "a tiny dot of blue on the bottom corner of binding." The auction received 12 bids and sold at $2,201.

    1663 King James Authorized

    Described as ornate, the binding has gold trim and 5 raised bands with a tight binding on the 3" thick volume. The US seller notes that one page shows repair. The Bible sold as a BIN for $2,000.

    Fox Pool
    Rob Maylin

    If you thought we left carp behind with the October Top 10, think again. In November it's another Maylin book, another leather-bound limited edition. The Dutch seller recalled this is 1 of 30 copies in the limited edition. It is signed by Maylin and in a slipcase. The 7-day auction with 7 photos closed with 10 bids.

    The Irish Landscape
    Louis Le Brocquy

    The mint condition signed book is #15 of a limited edition of 250. Leather bound and in a slipcase, it was listed by the UK seller in a 10-day auction with 1 photo. 21 bids brought the GBP 150.00 starting bid to $1,776.98.

    Abraham Lincoln - The War Years
    Carl Sandburg

    The 4-volume set is among the limited edition of 525 signed by the author. Described as in excellent condition with page tanning, the set was listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 6 photos. It attracted 26 bids to close at $1,492.

    The Hebrides
    J.M. Boyd and I.L. Boyd

    Described as "new except for slight fading of the blue title strip on the jacket spine," this New Naturalist No. 76 took only that brief description and 1 photo to attract 6 bids in the 10-day auction by a UK seller.

    Theory of the Earth With Proofs and Illustrations
    Vol 1.

    James Hutton

    The 1795 leather volume is "worn at extremities and split at hinges. Boards at attached by the cords only. Split at center of spine but the book remains in tack." This is a second edition of Hutton's work. Listed by a US seller in a 5-day auction with 6 photos, the book is 1 of 3 volumes that comprise the set. After 11 bids, it sold for $1,340.66.

    By the Numbers

    7 sellers were from the UK
    9 sellers were from the USA
    2 sellers were from Australia
    1 seller was from the Netherlands
    1 seller was from the Germany
    14 books were published during or after 1950
    6 were published before 1950
    3 books was listed for 5 days
    5 books were listed for 7 days
    6 books were listed for 10 days
    1 auction was ended early
    4 sold as BIN
    1 sold as a Best Offer
    1 to 26 is the range of bids
    None were private auction
    Seller feedback ranged from 0 to 2137
    9 sellers had 100% positive feedback
    Feedback ranged from 99.5% to 100% for sellers who had feedback
    The oldest book was published in 1583

    Questions or comments?
    Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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