Monday, November 4, 2013

Top Ten selling books: Sex sells while Spiderman climbs to the top!




Here we have eBay's top ten selling books from the last few years, starting with number 10.

10. Wizard of OZ  $8,243

1st edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. (Sold January 21, 2010).

9. 1st Alchoholics Anonymous $8,351
First Edition, Alchoholics Anonymous book, dated 1939. (Sold March 11, 2010).

8. Ulysses 1935 Edition $12,900
"Ulysses" 1935 Limited Edition signed by James Joyce and Henri Matisse. (Sold February 23, 2010).

7. Astronomy Book $15,202
1617 Astronomy Book. Sold (February 3, 2010).

6. Antique Homann Atlas $16,100
Homann Atlas (1728-50) with 97 engraved, hand colored maps.  (Sold September 25, 2010).

5. Medieval Book of Hours  $17,799
Medieval Book of Hours written in Rouen, France, circa 1470. (Sold June 1, 2010).

4. National Geographic $20,155
National Geographic Magazine set (1888 - 1990) includes issue #1. (Sold January 18th, 2010).

3. Vintage Playboy Magazine $39,900
1953 Playboy Magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe. (Sold April 13, 2011).

2. Antique Golf Poem/Pamphlet $50,400
1751 pamphlet featured an early Golf poem. (Sold January 19, 2011).

1. Spider-Man Comic Book $107,300
1962 Amazing Fantasy #15 / Spider-Man Comic Book. (Sold October 19, 2011).

I find this interesting for several reasons. Firstly every home has books, and usually many, many books, and the old needle in a haystack expression comes to mind when thinking about ones that are valuable. So it’s always a question people have when clearing an estate or downsizing.

Secondly, it is a category that is rather hard to navigate when determining value because of things like condition, edition number, hardcover vs. soft cover, autographed or not, Canadian edition vs. US edition not to mention weeding out those ‘Book Club’ versions which seem to carry no value except decorative.

I pre-warn my clients that there will be books that won’t sell and in fact that certain charities won’t even want for free. It’s a case of supply and demand and changing lifestyles again. With so many books in every single house there simply aren’t enough collectors or book enthusiast to pick them up. And if you think about it people aren’t even reading paper bound books so much anymore, they’ll purchase the e-book version for their Kindle or buy the audio version for the car or iPod.

Let’s talk about the top five. At number 5 we have what sounds like an incredibly valuable and interesting book, a circa 1470 Book of Hours. To me, I would think a medieval book should be number one. It’s not however, it’s number five.

Number 4 is definitely interesting, a complete set of National Geographic magazines. Now before you go running downstairs to inventory your own collection of NG, the key word here is complete. National Geographic began in 1888 and there were 165 subscribers (versus 10 million by 1980) so to say that these early editions are rare is a big understatement. The first eight years of publication are called the ‘red brick’ editions and are the most highly sought after. But by 1896 they were printing more than 1200 magazines a month which makes anything past this date, relatively speaking more common. So the value is in these first 8 years of publication.

Number 3 is the Holy Grail of Playboy magazine, edition #1 with Marilyn Monroe on the cover. Let’s face it, sex sells (just ask Hef) and with the most famous sexy symbol of all time on the cover how could they go wrong.

Number 2. Ah yes, an incredibly early and rare golf pamphlet. Not surprised on this one, there always seems to be good money for sports collectibles and or ones related to ‘rich men’s’ hobbies; golf, horses, sailing come to mind. And in my experience good golf collectibles have always commanded a premium.

Number 1. I want to be surprised, but I’m not totally. But let’s face it, the #15 Spider Man comic book is the top selling book of the past few years on eBay??? And by more than double selling for a whopping $107,000! Well it must be an incredibly rare one with a very low printing, and comic collectors are an incredibly passionate group when it comes to their field. We have to keep in mind also that this is a top ten EBAY list, which is a ‘collectibles’ marketplace where collectibles sell best. However it still shocks me. Does whatever a spider can…and then some!

 

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