Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was a prolific writer and by the age of 67 she had written 57 best sellers and was to attain a career total of 79 crime novels and 19 plays. She also wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott.

The demand for Agatha Christie collectables just grows and grows. Her old home, Greenway House in Devon, is now owned by the National Trust and the grounds are open to visitors. The house is being restored and the Trust hopes that it will open to visitors in 2009.

There is a worldwide interest in Agatha Christie and not only do new editions and collections of her work appear almost every year, but the collector also has a bewildering choice of TV dramatisations and films to amass as well. Her most famous detective, Hercule Poirot has been brilliantly portrayed for TV by actor David Suchet and many fine dramatisations have been enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

Books though remain the major and most natural target for collectors.  Her first book was ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ published in 1921 and it is probably impossible to find a copy of this book with a dust wrapper intact.  In February 2000 a hardback copy in original cloth and without dust jacket sold for £2,200.  You would indeed have to turn detective to find any pre-war copies of Agatha Christie books with their original wrappers.

Agatha Christie’s second book was ‘The Secret Adversary’ published in 1922 and a copy of this was sold 7 or 8 years ago for £1,100.  Other 1920s first editions without dust jackets have been sold ranging from £220 – £800.  The 1936 publication ‘Cards on the Table’ with dust jacket fetched £1,500.  A first edition (1934) of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ with Crime Club band intact and in superb condition was spotted for sale at an antiques fair for £8,995.

While you need a large bank account to afford the early first editions, it is relatively easy to build your own Agatha Christie collection by being inventive and choosing items that are not yet in the mainstream of collecting.  This might involve the kind of editions that would not attract serious collectors, such as paperback.  These include Fontana, Penguin and Pan. 

You should visit Torquay Museum’s permanent Agatha Christie Exhibition to see a massive collection of Christie paperbacks.  Also of interest to collectors would be tickets to events, colourful modern merchandise, photographs, posters, magazine interviews and books written about Agatha Christie and these would make an interesting personal collection.

Another popular choice is to theme a collection around one both of her famous characters, the Belgian super sleuth Hercule Poirot, or the highly observant spinster of St Mary Meads – Miss Jane Marple.  If you have chosen Agatha Christie as your collecting passion, you are in good company.  There are many tens of thousands of fans who share your enthusiasm and there are many societies and clubs you could join. 

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