Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Collection Sold on eBay

Quite a few fantastic lots of books came up for sale this summer on eBay.  I first started seeing the books in July and knew immediately that someone's collection was up for sale.  At that time I didn't know any details, but I began keeping a sharp watch on eBay for more listings.  Whenever entire collections come up for sale, books that are quite difficult to find become available.

Jennifer Fisher wrote about this collector's will which left her books to three collectors.  Another will surfaced leaving the books to some cats, then the estate ended up in disarray.  Unfortunately, the collector's will was ignored, and the books ended up on eBay.  Altogether, this is an unfortunate and distasteful situation.

Apparently, the books were given to a library, which then sold the books.  Based on the unusually low starting bids, I believe that the books were sold rather cheap to the sellers who listed them on eBay.  The deceased collector lived in southern Florida in the area of Fort Lauderdale.  Most of the sellers who sold the books on eBay were located within 15 miles of the collector's residence.  Ultimately, at least four sellers offered books from this collection.

I purchased a number of the lots offered by the different sellers.  One seller in particular did not sort the books, and I was forced to purchase many duplicates that I would have preferred not to have had to purchase.  Since the prices I paid for those books will be quite apparent, I want to mention that I have offered some books at less than what I paid and some at more than what I paid.  I am taking a loss on some books of necessity, while I make up the difference with other books.  

Seller #1 sold the following lots of books.  I purchased one lot of books, and the deceased collector's name was on printed emails found inside some of the books, thus proving that the books belonged to her.  Click on the images to view larger versions.

Seller #2 sold the following lots of books. This seller called all of the books "flashlight picture cover books."  It's kind of amusing to see Norwegian Nancy Drew books called "flashlight" editions.

Seller #3 sold the following books.  I purchased some of the books, and one package arrived in a box turned inside-out.  On the inside of the box the deceased collector's name and address was written, thus proving that this seller's books belonged to the collector. 

This seller sabotaged the second listing, the Swedish books that sold for $9.99, by inexplicably reducing the length of the auction a few days after the books were listed.  I would have bid, but the lot had closed early.  I'm sure that the seller realized the grave error days later after seeing the high prices of other listings.  He didn't make that mistake again.  You might think the listing closed low because Nancy Drew was misspelled in the title, but it was in the description.  I was aware of the listing from the day it was listed.  The change of duration was the real problem.  I always bid at the end, but I couldn't because it had ended. 

Seller #4 sold the following books.  For me personally, this seller's listings were the most interesting.  The Danish Nancy Drew books were mistakenly called Norwegian editions.  Also amusingly, the seller misspelled "Froken Detectiv" as "Frozen Detectiv."

The books from two of the four sellers were definitely from the deceased collector's collection.  Even though no proof of connection is known for the other two sellers, the books must be from the same collection due to the timing of the listings, the location of the sellers, and the nature of the type of series books being sold.  This collector was an avid collector of foreign editions, and every seller offered at least some foreign editions.

I found it interesting how every seller dumped the books into large lots.  Most buyers are not willing to purchase large lots where not all of the books are needed.  This caused the price per book to be well below what each book would have cost if purchased directly from other countries.  I have collected foreign editions since the late 1990s, and it is hugely expensive.  Most of these books were very cheap in comparison to the prices I have actually paid for foreign edition books.

The prices realized for these listings were likely all less that what the deceased collector paid for the books.  The prices she paid would have been comparable to what I have paid for similar books.  I found printed emails or invoices inside around six to eight books.  In each of those cases, what the collector paid was much higher than what I paid for her books.  If those sellers had bothered to inspect the books and had noticed the printed emails and invoices, they might have realized that the books are worth more than how they priced them.

I do not believe that all of this collector's books ended up on eBay.  A small number were listed on Amazon by one of the sellers, and many other foreign editions that the collector would have likely owned have not shown up for sale anywhere to my knowledge.  If you live in southern Florida, consider checking your local stores.  Perhaps some of the books are there.


Etta said...

What a strange story. I ended up buying three of these lots, from two different sellers. When I bought the second two, I had no idea they were from the same estate as a lot I had bought a couple of months earlier, although it makes sense because the first lot had a couple of British Nancy Drews (unbeknownst to me when I bid; I was mainly interested in the Dana Girls portion of the lot. The British NDs were a fun bonus).

I'm happy that you're selling off the extras of some of the foreign editions you ended up with. I considered bidding on some of the lots, but I just don't have enough book space to justify buying larger quantities of foreign editions. I just bought a couple of foreign Dana Girls books from your ebay store.

Jennifer White said...

I think if the lots had not been so large that the price per book would have been higher. Like in your case, many people don't want to buy large quantities of foreign editions or anything else, for that matter. Others already owned many of them and couldn't justify buying lots of extras for just a few books. I already owned many of them, but I bid since I knew that I could sell the extras eventually, even if it takes me a year or two to get rid of all of them.

What's so weird is that the first of the four sellers was located in Georgia. The collector's name was inside several books I purchased from him, proving the connection. The other three sellers were in the Fort Lauderdale area, near where the collector lived. The seller from Georgia must have gone to Florida for the library sale where the books were sold.

Unknown said...

I picked up two or three of these lots. Interesting to know more of the story behind the sales; excellent sleuthing!
I also noticed the "frozen" detectiv, and the fact that they were actually Danish. Funny!

Unknown said...

I picked up two or three of these lots. Interesting to know more of the story behind the sales; excellent sleuthing!
I also noticed the "frozen" detectiv, and the fact that they were actually Danish. Funny!