Rare bookseller Peter Harrington is offering for sale a remarkable collection of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books. To be shown at the Masterpiece antiques event in London, the collection includes first editions signed to Winston Churchill, Robert Kennedy and others, and has been valued at £2.5m.
Described as the most significant Ian Fleming collection ever to appear on the market, it contains inscribed first editions of every James Bond book published in the author’s lifetime. Amongst these inscriptions are some sensational associations: – an omnibus edition of Casino Royale, From Russia With Love and Doctor No inscribed to James Bond (a fan and collector coincidentally sharing the name of Fleming’s spy charater); a copy of Live and Let Die inscribed to Winston Churchill; The Spy Who Loved Me inscribed to Robert Kennedy; Moonraker inscribed to Raymond Chandler; and From Russia with Love bearing a personal inscription from Fleming to his wife.
The Collection also includes a number of manuscripts, pre-publication proofs, advance copies and ephemera, and a number of books from Fleming’s personal library. These include a notebook kept by Fleming on a trip to Japan, from which selected passages appear in You Only Live Twice, books from his childhood and a copy of Raymond Chandler’s last novel inscribed to Fleming by the author.
Ian Fleming’s books about James Bond are perennially popular and there is an extremely enthusiastic fan base for both the books and the films. Continued interest is fuelled by the release of each new film, with Bond 25 set for release early next year.
An indication of the price trend of James Bond first editions can be seen with a particularly fine copy of Casino Royale which Peter Harrington has sold four times in the past few years: for £22,000 in 2002; £26,000 in 2006; £30,000 in 2008; and in 2013, for £50,000. It is remarkably rare to see a whole collection like this for sale, as they are usually broken up, and it will appeal to someone looking to acquire a complete and exceptional Fleming collection all in one go. This collection is the highest valued Peter Harrington has ever offered for sale.
The 81 items come from a New York collector, who has been assembling the collection for over 30 years and it is offered for sale as a collection only for £2.5m. Pom Harrington owner of Peter Harrington Rare Books says: “The significance of this collection cannot be overstated. From typescripts which document Fleming’s creative process, to inscriptions which provide an insight into his personal life, few collections tell such a complete story about an author. We are extremely excited to be able to present it at this year’s Masterpiece fair, alongside a selection of other carefully chosen items.”
Masterpiece London takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea from Thursday 27th June until Wednesday 3rd July and is open daily from 11am until 7pm on Friday 28th, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June and until 9pm on all other days. The Preview Day is on Wednesday 26th June. Peter Harrington Rare Books is on Stand D4. See the full list of items in the Fleming Collection here.
All images courtesy of www.peterharrington.co.uk.