EBay the best way to sell Titanic books


Chris Lofback

Member
Mar 31, 2008
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I am planning to sell a small collection of Titanic books and print items.

In the opinion of this group, do such items get fair market value on eBay? Or is there a better way to specifically reach Titanic collectors?

Thanks,
Chris
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>In the opinion of this group, do such items get fair market value on eBay?<<

That's going to depend on the bidders and whether anything you have to offer has a premium value to them. A bit of a gamble in other words. You might do better with the books at least, to have them appraised by a reputable dealer in used books.
 

Chris Lofback

Member
Mar 31, 2008
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Thanks, Michael. I've researched them on AddALL and Bookfinder and found a price range for some. The Thayer, though, is a rare bird and I can't find any listings but I've been told they go for 1000+ if in at least Good condition. It's been suggested that I post them on eBay with a starting bid of the lowest value and see what happens. Any thoughts on that?

I also plan to post an alert here. FYI, the titles are as follows:

"Titanic", Filson Young, 1912

"Sinking of the SS Titanic", John B. Thayer, 1940
137 of 500, Signed, Inscribed

"Loss of the SS Titanic", Lawrence Beesley, 1912
1st edition (blue cover)

"Truth About the Titanic", Archibald Gracie, 1913
2 copies

"Night to Remember", Walter Lord, 1956
1st British edition, signed, with dust jacket

"Night Lives On", Walter Lord, 1986
1st edition, signed, with dust jacket

"Roster of Valor", Arnold and Betty Watson, 1984
With dust jacket and presentation card

26 copies of "Titanic Commutator", late 1980s - early 1990s
With supplements and special editions

Scientific American magazine, 11 May 1912
Contains article "The Unsinkable Ship"
Ex-library

I'm not a pro collector but from my research I believe all are Very Good or Fine.

Not sure how I will list the Commutators. I'm thinking in groups by volume. Do you think they would fetch more singly?

Thanks again,
Chris
 
J

Jeff Kelley

Guest
I am not well acquainted with Titanic books specifically, but I do know that rare/collectable booksellers in general ask very "healthy" prices for their books. They don't count on fast turnover but when something does sell they get a very decent profit. I would expect any eBay sale to be substantially lower than what many booksellers are asking on their sites.

It is an entirely different animal altogether, but as an example, I had a book signed by Nelson Mandela that was listed for any where from $3,000 to $10,000 on various sites, and I sold it on eBay for $1,600 (I had paid only $250 for it less than a month earlier, so I was happy).

Also, in regard to condition, be very careful. The terminology is not directly comparable to other areas of collecting. For example, "very fine" for books is essentially near mint/mint in any other world. The next step up for books is "mint", but most new books only grade "very fine."

In any case, it sounds like you have some great stuff there, and I am sure it will be well sought after.
 

Chris Lofback

Member
Mar 31, 2008
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0
31
Hi Jeff--

Thanks for the insight. I talked to one dealer who said they typically buy at 20-40% of retail price but not sure how the retail price is determined. I think they used BookFinder or ABEBooks. I was offered $400 for the Thayer and decided to hold off. I figure the best I can hope for is the lowest retail price.

As for condition, I believe I am using the correct terms. The generally accepted scale is:

New
As New
Fine
Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor

I have not seen "very fine" and my understanding is "mint" is no longer used for books...? I will confirm, though.

Thanks again,
Chris
 
J

Jeff Kelley

Guest
If a dealer offered you $400 then you can be sure of getting more on eBay.

As for the condition terminology you quoted, you might well be right, but I have not seen these terms used in the few sites I have been to recently. I would be happy if the range you listed is accurate, however, as it seems more reasonable than the "old" way.
 

Matthew Farr

Member
Apr 14, 2010
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Lansing, Michigan, United States
Chris,
I frequent eBay quite often for Titanic books and I have only seen two copies of Thayer's book on there in three years. The last one sold for $1800 i think (this was about 6 months ago). If I were selling this book I would set a reserve of at least $1000 for it. I have no doubt it will sell for much more that that.

Just for comparison, I see at least one copy of Beesley's book on there every other week or so and those typically sell for $150 - $250 depending on condition and the zeal of the persons vying for it. Walter Lords books are quit common and there are typically two copies of ANTR up for sale at any given time.

I hope this helps you out and who knows, I may end up buying one of your books.
 

Chris Lofback

Member
Mar 31, 2008
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0
31
Matthew--

Thanks, that's great info. Have you seen many signed Lord books? I couldn't find many references to signed Walter Lord books but maybe they aren't that rare.

I'll definitely post a notice here when I list them on eBay. I'm guessing the fancy eBay alert widget at the top of the ET message board will also find them.

Thanks again,
Chris
 

Matthew Farr

Member
Apr 14, 2010
274
1
71
38
Lansing, Michigan, United States
Chris,

I did not see that your copy of ANTR was signed when I first read through your list, Sorry for the confusion. That is a whole different ball of wax! While an unsigned copy of ANTR is fairly common a singed copy of that book is quite a bit more difficult to find. I remember seeing one listed for $200 but I cannot remember what it sold for.

If you want a good resource for determining the rarity of Titanic books I recommend www.titanicbooksite.com . I have found it to be an invaluable resource.

Once again my apologies for not reading the descriptions more carefully

Best Wishes
Matthew
 

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