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Agatha Christie book smashes auction record

28th June 2012

A very rare Agatha Christie book with a dust jacket that depicts Hercule Poirot for the first time has smashed the record for a Christie book sold at auction, fetching more than four times the amount the previous record holder did.

The 1924 first edition of Poirot Investigates, which has a dust jacket featuring a man not dissimilar to David Suchet in his guise of the Belgian detective, sold for GBP 40,630 at the Dominic Winter auction house this week.

The amount greatly exceeds the GBP 10,000 paid for an early copy of The Mysterious Affair at Styles at Sotheby's in 2009, which had previously held the record for the most expensive Christie book.

Rare book dealer Christian Jonkers was the winning bidder and said he was delighted to be taking home such a treasured piece of Christie memorabilia, even if the price he paid was far higher than the 37p the book originally sold for.

Dominic Winter auctioneer Chris Albury said the book's dust jacket is the key to its rarity, not only featuring the first depiction of Poirot, but also being in such excellent condition.

'It's pretty perfect - usually dust jackets from this time have got a panel or half a panel missing. Here Poirot is completely intact,' he explained.

'Pre-Second World War dust jackets are far less common than post-war ones, too – they were often taken off books at the point of sale and put in bins, so they didn't even make it out of shops.'

Mr Jonkers said the book will take pride of place in his collection as one of the best preserved examples of early 20th century detective fiction.

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