A rare collection of first edition James Bond books is currently for sale, and it represents one of the holy grails for fans of the MI6 agent. But the novels, written by Ian Fleming, are not going cheap. The entire set will set you back more than $600,000. One would need to be Goldfinger levels of wealthy to have this be a practical purchase.
The collection contains first editions of all 14 original James Bond books by Ian Fleming, starting with 1953's Casino Royale. They even include the original dust jackets, which is a rarity. Making this collection even more impressive is that ten of the 14 books contain inscriptions from Fleming to various people, ranging from former girlfriends to professional golfers. Book dealer Dr. John Atkinson helped assemble the collection, which comes with a price tag of around $613,890 in U.S. dollars. Atkinson had this to say.
"[Fleming] knew the value of books when they were signed and he was quite sparing when he inscribed books to people. I think it's fair to say he only inscribed books to people he liked."
Ian Fleming's works went on to inspire one of the most enduring figures in cinema history. Sean Connery portrayed Bond, aka 007, in 1962's Dr. No. The franchise has been going ever since, lasting for more than five decades, grossing billions at the box office. That makes these books rather important bits of pop culture history. As for the inscriptions, Casino Royale was signed to one of Fleming's girlfriends. Atkinson had this to say about it.
"She was called Lisl Popper and was Austrian. He met her in a bar in Kitzbuhel when he was 19 and she tripped him up, which he found hilarious. They had a bond throughout their life and she was one of the people that he left ӰǺ to in his will."
A collection like this one does not come together easily. It took several years to assemble the books, and it took a globe-spanning effort to complete the task. John Atkinson explained how they managed to pull it off.
"We got them from all parts of the globe and put them together, from auctions and private sales. We wrestled a few from private collections here and there."
Meanwhile, Daniel Craig's James Bond is set to return in No Time to Die. The 25th Bond movie has been delayed several times already. Most recently, as a result of the box office still being relatively slow, MGM pushed the movie back to October of this year. It had previously been set to arrive in April.
One might expect a collection such as this to sell at auction. But that's not the case. Instead, John Atkinson is selling the James Bond books through his shop. They are currently being held at an undisclosed, secure location. Because the earlier books were subject to smaller print runs, there are very few first editions available. Especially ones in this condition. This news comes to us via the BBC.