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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
April 2007

by Pamela Palmer

#98, 9 July 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 Fiction Top 10 started out in typical fashion with heavy weighting toward Stephen King and son Joe Hill. Then at #9, it split into a 3-way tie, making it the Top 11 list. If you are wearing a hat, though, settle it firmly before checking out the Non-fiction list. This month saw strange behavior crop up, making it a wild international ride, especially for a certain buyer from China.

Fiction Top 10
February 2007

#1 $2,575.00 Edgar Rice Burroughs TARZAN AND THE ANT MEN 1st in DJ
#2 $2,502.48 Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard signed limited ed
#3 $2,276.51 Slippery Staircase by E.C.R. Lorac 1938 London HC/DJ
#4 $1,391.00 Tolkien~The Fellowship of the Ring~First Edition~1954
#5 $1,195.00 JOE HILL 20th Century Ghosts Deluxe HC 104/200
#6 $1,030.00 Stephen King's S/L Cycle of the Werewolf Collector's Ed
#7 $1,025.00 Stephen King signed Legends Lettered Edition WW 1 Of 50
#8 $1,001.45 JOE HILL HEART-SHAPED BOX Subterranean Deluxe Limited
#9 tie $1,000.00 tie Stephen King, signed limited ed of Christine #666/1000
#9 tie $1,000,00 tie Stephen King s/l Firestarter, #448 of 725, July 7, 1980
#9 tie $1,000,00 tie *rare* TORTILLA FLAT john steinbeck **SIGNED**

Tarzan and The Ant Men
Edgar Rice Burroughs

The 1924 McClurg edition has a professionally restored dust jacket, and the US seller described the scope of the restoration in detail. Listed in a 10-day auction with 15 photos, the book received 1 bid and sold for $2,575.

Battlefield Earth
L. Ron Hubbard

Sold as a BIN, the signed leather-bound copy of Battlefield Earth in slipcase and wooden box was listed by a Australian seller in fine condition. Listed with 7 photos, the book sold the day after it was listed.

Slippery Staircase
E.C.R. Lorac

Fans of classic mysteries know E.C.R. Lorac's Slippery Staircase. The Crime Club 1938 first edition was listed by a US seller in a private 7-day auction with 5 photos. Questions included a report of receiving an offer to sell the same book. After 12 bids, the price went from the starting bid of $19.99 to close at $2,276.51.

The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien

Called "extremely rare," the 1954 1st edition was listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 11 photos. In response to a question on whether this is the first UK or first US edition, the seller replied that it was the first US edition but had been printed in England. The dust jacket is described as "a little rough, worn at folds, tattered at the top and bottom ... with a short horizontal tear ...." 10 bids took it to a selling price of $1,391.

20th Century Ghosts
Joe Hill

If you wondered whether Stephen King and son made this Top 10 list, wonder no more. Hill's short story collection in the deluxe limited edition came in at #5. Described as "new and ... gently viewed," it is #104 of 200 copies. Listed by a US seller with 2 photos, it sold as a BIN.

Cycle of the Werewolf
Stephen King

A signed limited edition of King's The Cycle of the Werewolf attracted 13 bids in the 7-day auction with 3 photos. Described as #54 of 100, the book contains a "tipped-in original Wrightson pencil sketch .... The book, dust jacket, slipcase and sketch are all in near fine condition." The same seller sold #7, and 2 King books tied for #9.

Stephen King

Continuing the King-Hill run, a signed, lettered copy of Legends came in at #7, listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 2 photos. Described as "in as new condition, no flaws and unread," it is "bound in full green leather, housed in a matching leather slipcase, with full pictoral endpapers." Each story is signed by the author; authors include King, Robert Silverberg, Terry Pratchett, Terry Goodkind, Ursula K. Le Guin, and others. After 8 bids, it sold for $1,025. The same seller sold #6 and 2 King books that tied for #9.

Heart-Shaped Box
Joe Hill

A second Joe Hill book came in at #8 in a private 7-day auction by a US seller. Described as a "deluxe limited edition ... which sold out pre-publication," the book attracted 18 bids to sell for $1,001.45.

#9 tie
Stephen King

Stephen King

Tortilla Flat
John Steinbeck

Two Kings and a Steinbeck tied for #9 with each selling for $1,000. The Kings were both signed limited editions. Christine was #666 of 1000, and Firestarter was #448 of 725. Sold by the same seller to the same buyer, both involved private auctions. The seller of these 2 books also sold #6 and #7.

Steinbeck's classic Tortilla Flat rounds out the top fiction in April in a 7-day auction with 11 photos. Listed by a US seller, the 1935 7th printing received 11 bids. Described as in very good condition, it was inscribed and signed by the author on the flyleaf.

Non-Fiction Top 10
April 2007

#1 $17,500.00* Rare Huge Folio 1613 King James Bible
#2 $ 9,500.00 Security Analysis - Graham & Dodd - 1st ed 1st printing
#3 $ 3,444.75 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS 1948 Edition HC DJ
#4 $ 3,401.03 Alcoholics Anonymous 1st Edition FOURTH Printing 1943
#5 $ 2,777.27 The Babe Ruth Story autographed book by Babe Ruth
#7 $ 1,902.00 RARE! 1582 Edition of the Rhemes New Testament
#9 $ 1,700.00 AA BOOK
#10 $ 1,575.00 Peter Beard: Art Edition, Signed and Numbered,IN STOCK!
*Stolen eBay buyer's identity so final value not validated.
**Special circumstances so final value not validated; see item below for details.

King James Bible

Described as "a huge folio church altar Bible measuring 16 x 11 with the pages a full 15 3/8" tall." This is a second edition, 1613 full leather Bible, rebound in the 19th century using quite a bit of the original leather. Flaws are minor. Listed by a US seller with 11 photos, the Bible sold for a BIN of $17,500. A check for feedback from this transaction was revealing. The buyer had gone from a feedback of 78 to 186 in just over two months. The Chinese buyer's note appended to a neutral feedback told the store, "my account is embezzled in APRIL. The robber buy over 1000 items with my accout! The business not my sense."

Security Analysis
Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd

The 1934 1st edition, 1st printing described as in "very good condition, clean and tight." Listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 13 photos, the book attracted 5 bids to close at $9,500. And, yes, the buyer received positive feedback from the seller.

Alcoholics Anonymous

In a 7-day auction with 6 photos, the 12th printing, 1948 edition in good condition attracted 11 bids and sold for $3,444.75. Unusual in that "it is possibly inscribed and signed by William Wilson, co-founder of AA."

Alcoholics Anonymous

Another copy of Alcoholics Anonymous, also a 12th printing, 1948 sold in a private auction. Listed by a US seller with 12 photos, the book attracted 20 bids. Described as in excellent condition, the book has few flaws.

The Babe Ruth Story
As Told to Bob Considine

Signed by Babe Ruth, the book is listed in good condition by the US seller who listed it in a 7-day auction with 5 photos. After 4 bids, it sold for $2,777.27.

[an un-named, un-pictured*** book printed in 1950 in French and printed in France; #1 of 120 books published; signed by Picasso twice and containing an original drawing by Picasso as well as 282 illustrations of which 7 are separate color plates]

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.

The New Testament of Jesus Christ Translated Faithfully into English Out of the Authentical Latin…
Rhemes New Testament

Described as "in Very Good condition Nice Leather Binding," the 1582 New Testament had been rebound. Listed by a US seller in a 5-day auction with 8 photos, the volume attracted 5 bids and sold for $1,902.

Freedom's Sword
Annie S. Swan

A book of Scottish history listed by an Australian seller came in at #8 after attracting 43 bids. Listed in a 10-day auction with 4 photos, Freedom's Sword was published in 1887 and was listed in good condition.

Alcoholics Anonymous

The consignment shop listing this 1st printing ended the auction early to sell to the high bidder. It was rebound, ex library, and in good condition. The seller lists 3 points identifying it as a 1st edition, including the repetition of line 26 on line 27 on page 234.

Peter Beard: Art Edition
Peter Beard

Listed by a German seller in a 10-day auction with 1 photo, the signed, numbered, leather-bound volume published by Taschen is in the original packing and was never opened. Shipping costs are listed at $200. After 17 bids, the auction closed at $1,575.

By the Numbers

18 sellers were from the USA
2 seller was from Australia
1 seller was from Germany
1 seller sold 4 books
10 books were published during or after 1950
11 were published before 1950
0 book was listed for 3 days
1 books was listed for 5 days
12 books were listed for 7 days
3 books were listed for 10 days
4 sold as BIN
1 auction ended early to sell to the current high bidder
0 sold as a Best Offer
1 to 43 was the range of bids
2 were private auctions
Seller feedback ranged from 11 to 5429.*
6 books were sold by sellers with 100% positive feedback
Feedback ranged from 92.3% to 100% for sellers who had feedback
The oldest book was published in 1582.

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

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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