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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
January 2007

by Pamela Palmer

#89, 5 March 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

    Fish cropped up more than once in the January non-fiction top 10 along with a few more nature-oriented titles. Balancing those are the regulars, including a Bible and Alcoholics Anonymous. The big question, though, is not how to enjoy the great outdoors. In February, eBay announced testing that may lead to books from UK sellers losing their automatic placement in eBay's US search. UK sellers are advised to list directly on the US site to ensure exposure. Will they - or will this tilt dominance of the Fiction Top 10 away from the UK?

    Fiction Top 10
    January 2007

    #1 $5,500.00 Ian Fleming Moonraker -a true 1st Edition- Fine condit
    #2 $3,800.00 Isaac Asimov SIGNED 1st PRINTING Foundation trilogy
    #3 $2,457.75 THE HOBBIT - 1st Edition - 2nd Impression - 1937 - RARE
    #4 $2,399.00 A Time To Kill John Grisham Limited Ed. Numbered Signed
    #5 $2,007.49 C S LEWIS. 1st UK Edn. LION the WITCH & the WARDROBE
    #9 $1,661.44 Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange - 1st in d/w 1962
    #10 $1,512.28 RINGWORLD Larry Niven UK FIRST EDITION Gollancz HB 1st

    Ian Fleming

    Described as fine in a fine dust jacket and appearing unread, this true first edition of Moonraker received 21 bids in a 7-day auction with 16 photos. An "extremely small chip" in the corner of the dust jacket was the only flaw. The US seller with 5 feedbacks had a $5,500 payday with this auction. This seller also sold #2 in non-fiction.

    Foundation Trilogy Foundation
    Foundation and Empire
    Second Foundation

    Isaac Asimov

    The trilogy was published 1951-53 and all are stated first editions in very good first bindings with very good dust jackets. Foundation has a bookplate signed by Asimov. Foundation and Empire is signed in the book to the publisher Stuart Schiff whose bookplate is in the book. The third volume has an Asimov-signed bookplate. The US seller listed it in a 10-day auction with 7 photos. It received 2 bids, selling for $3,800.

    The Hobbit
    J.R.R. Tolkien

    A 1st edition, 2nd impression, the 1937 volume is described as "the first and only UK edition published with Tolkien's colour illustrations and is one of 1877 copies of the 2300 that survived the bombing of London in 1940." Listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction, it sold as a BIN.

    A Time to Kill
    John Grisham

    In mint condition and signed, the limited edition leather-bound book in slipcase and dust cover was listed by the original owner in a 5-day auction with 2 photos. It sold as a best offer at the BIN price of $2,399.

    The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
    C.S. Lewis

    Listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 4 photos, the "nice clean copy" of the 1st British edition with professional restored dust jacket received 16 bids.

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


    Tolkien makes his second appearance on the January 2007 top 10 in this 10-day private auction by a UK seller. Shown in 12 photos, the set comes with a letter of provenance from the daughter of Dr. James Dyson, friend of Tolkien's daughter. Two Towers is signed by Tolkien and inscribed by his daughter to Dyson. The auction closed with 1 bid. This seller also sold #7.

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


    Sold by the UK seller of #6 in another private auction, this set also comes from the estate of Dr. James Dyson. Tolkien inscribed The Return of the King "signed for Jim, J R R Tolkien." Sold with a letter of provenance from Dyson's daughter, the set includes The Fellowship of The Ring 1st ed., 7th impression; The Two Towers 1st ed., 7th impression; and The Return of the King 1st ed., 10th impression. After a 10-day auction with 8 photos, the set sold for $1,947.91.

    Haunts and By-Paths and Other Poems
    J. Thorne Smith

    Signed and in a dust jacket, the book was listed by a US seller with 2 photos. It sold as a best offer at $1,800. Flaws include a stained endpaper with the signature and an "edge chipped/torn dust jacket."

    A Clockwork Orange
    Anthony Burgess

    This very good book in a very good dust jacket is an association copy, previously owned by John Pearson, biographer of Ian Fleming. A 1st edition, 1st impression, it was listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 6 photos. It sold after 29 bids brought the selling price to $1,661.44.

    Ringworld Larry Nevin

    A first UK edition in very good condition with a very good dust jacket, the book received 6 bids and sold for $1,612.28. It was listed by a UK seller in a 7-day auction with 5 photos.

    Non-Fiction Top 10
    January 2007

    #1 $5,389.45 VERY RARE Tolfrey "Jones Guide to Norway" 1848
    #2 $5,000.00 Vanishing Animals, Andy Warhol, signed 1st edition
    #3 $4,800.00 I Me Mine George Harrison Signed Book
    #4 $3,550.00 alcoholics anonymous 1st.ed. 1st.printing fascimal dc
    #6 $3,034.44 'A Night in London' Bill Brandt First 1938 Very Rare
    #7 $2,246.09 Winston S. Churchill - MY EARLY LIFE
    #8 $2,133.00 The North American Sylva, Vol. 1 and 2 (missing vol 3)
    #10 $1,509.39 Fox Pool - The Adventures of The Famous Five Rob Maylin

    Jones's Guide to Norway and Salmon Fishers Pocket Companion
    J. Jones

    "One of the rarest fishing books ever published" describes the 1848 copy "used by the Flyfishers Classic Library to produce their reprint." Now rebound in leather with slipcase, it was listed in a 10-day auction with 1 photo and sold with 3 bids. Answers to questions revealed details: The binding is likely by Hartnois and there is a cloth-covered slipcase. Condition is listed as "very good having regard to the age."

    Vanishing Animals
    Andy Warhol and Kurt Benirschke

    The 1986 hardcover in dust jacket triggered more questions than any top 10 book in memory. Ten questions with answers were posted, and they came from Europe, Japan, London, Canada, and Australia. Proof of its appeal was in the bidding (26 in all) and the price ($5,000). The only thing missing was a condition description but the answers to questions revealed it was new condition. The US seller told how a family member worked for the publisher and met Mr. Warhol who signed it for her. This seller also sold #1 in fiction.

    I Me Mine
    George Harrison

    Described as in excellent condition, the leather-bound Genesis volume was signed by Harrison. The Australian seller listed it in a 7-day auction with 8 photos. After 17 bids, it sold for $4,800.

    Alcoholics Anonymous

    A novice US seller listed the 1st ed., 1st printing in a reproduction dust jacket that attracted 19 bids in a 7-day auction with 2 photos.


    Called superb, the volume includes the old and new testaments, Book of Common Prayer, Book of Geneaologies and Psalms of David. All except the Psalms were printed in 1634, and it was printed the next year. Rebound in "half leather ... with marble paper hardback boards," it has few flaws. Shown in 12 photos by the UK seller who listed it in a 7-day auction, it sold after 23 bids for $3,037.69.

    A Night in London
    Bill Brandt

    The 1938 1st edition is ex-library is described as "in excellent order." Listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 5 photos, the auction received 19 bids.

    My Early Life: A Roving Commission
    Winston S. Churchill

    A private 5-day auction by a seller from Scotland led to12 bids and a selling price of $2,246.09. Published in 1941, the book includes a glued in letter from Churchill at Downing Street noting that the book was sent with Churchill's thanks to the composer of the pipe march "Salute to Mr. Churchill." The page to which it is attached came loose and was taped back in.

    The North American Sylva, or a Description of Forest Trees, of the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia
    Francois Andre Michaux

    Published 1817-1818, volumes 1 and 2 (3 is missing) were listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 1 photo. This is the first English language edition and it contains 55 plates in each leather-bound volume. After 16 bids, the set sold at $2,133.

    Diving Manual and Instructions to Divers
    R. H. Davis

    The UK seller is sure the undated volume "is contemporary with the immediate post WWI period." [Associate Editor's note: shows a 1924 book titled A Diving Manual and Handbook of Submarine Appliances by Robert H. Davis and also published by Siebe, Gorman & Co. of London.] The 7-day auction drew 19 bids before ending at $1,587.44.

    Fox Pool
    The Adventures of the Famous Five

    Rob Maylin

    Listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 1 photo, the faux leather sequel to Tiger Bay is listed in excellent condition. After 9 bids, it sold for $1,509.39.

    By the Numbers

    12 sellers were from the UK
    7 sellers were from the USA
    1 seller was from Australia
    2 sellers each sold 2 books
    1 seller sold #1 Fiction and #2 Non-Fiction
    10 books were published during or after 1950
    10 were published before 1950
    0 book was listed for 3 days
    1 books was listed for 5 days
    7 books were listed for 7 days
    9 books were listed for 10 days
    1 sold as BIN
    2 sold as Best Offers
    1 to 29 was the range of bids
    3 were private auctions
    Seller feedback ranged from 0 to 7195
    The seller who sold #1 Fiction and #2 Non-Fiction had a feedback of 5.*
    25% of the books were sold by sellers with feedback of 5 or lower.
    11 sellers had 100% positive feedback
    Feedback ranged from 99.5% to 100% for sellers who had feedback
    The oldest book was published in 1634

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

    Questions or comments?
    Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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