Michael Gillette

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Casino Royale book sold for a record breaking £30.000


British auction firm Sotheby's had a big and very rare auction today.

It was the auction of actress Vivian Leigh's belongings. Two of the lots were Ian Fleming books and one of these was a Casino Royale first edition in a condition that must be regarded like one of the three best Casino Royale still out there on our planet.

But let´s go back a bit.

If you do not know Vivian Leigh she played Scarlet O'Hara in the 1939 monster hit Gone With the Wind. A film ending up winning 10 Oscars. Gone with the wind was based on the novel with the same title written by Margaret Mitchell.

The Fleming connection is that Vivian Leigh was a friend of Noel Coward and so was Ian Fleming. Both Coward and Fleming had a house in Jamaica spending a lot of their time there during the colder months of the year.
Vivian Leigh did a film in 1956 based on a story written by Noel Coward. But if this is when they learned to know each other it would be three years after Fleming had published his first novel Casino Royale.

When I heard about this auction I immediately felt that "of course" Fleming based his character of Vesper Lynd on the looks of Vivian Leigh and the persona of Scarlet O'Hara. But if they got to know each other three years after the book was published then this is not possible.

But I am loosing track here.

As I said in the beginning, Sotheby's had an auction were most of Vivian's belongings were offered and amongst these the Casino Royale book was auctioned out for a stunning £30.000 including premiums. The book was in a fantastic condition consider its age but I have never seen a price tag like that before. It only shows that an Ian Fleming first edition Casino Royale with dust jacket will forever be out of my league.

What is your reaction to the new all time high? Please comment below. 

Casino Royale UK first edition
Vivian Leigh

Ewa Green as Vesper Lynd in the filmversion of Casino Royale.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Rare American ad for Diamonds are forever found.


As most James Bond collectors do, I as well hunt on Ebay for books or other James Bond collectables to increase my collection with.

A few days back I came across a very cool advert for the US release of the book Diamonds Are Forever from 1956.

I emailed the seller asking him if he could offer the blog a copy of the ad without the watermark to the blog but he has not answered me. Therefore the below advert looks a bit suspicious down in the right corner.

Together with the ad is another picture of the US first edition of Diamonds are forever published by Macmillan in 1956.


  

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

News about the upcoming VINTAGE release in UK


We were many that got exited when it was announced that Vintage classic in the UK would re-release three of the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming.

I think we all can agree upon the fact that the thing that got us exited was the marvellous covers by the graphic designer Levente Szabó. They are a real treat to look at.

But it is of course a bit strange that Vintage classics will release the first and the second book and then make a big jump to the eight book.

The hard core collectors were also interested in the fact if this will be a limited print run like the 2008 and 2008 hardback series.

So I decided to ask Vintage all about this since I had managed to get in contact with an employee at their marketing department and the answer was short but straight.

At the moment there are no plans to release the other books in the series but if they change their mind there will be an announcement.

There will not be a limited print run. They will continue to print these books as long as there is an demand for them. The true hardcore collector might therefore wish to get your hands on a first edition that should be marked with a last digit 1 in the numbers section on the first page.

What is your gut feeling or hope for? Do you want more of these books in the series? Please comment below.


 


Sunday, 17 September 2017

200 000 page views for The secret agent blog.


I am so happy that I can almost explode.

My little blog about the literary James Bond that I created in October 2015 has now surpassed 200 000 page views. And it is the readers that keep coming back that makes it all worth wile.

The blog exists on many platforms:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Pinterest
Reddit

Companies have started to contact me for a collaboration instead of me having to hunt them down on my spare time (with no answer) since as you can imagine this blog is only a hobby.

I actually received a very interesting email from The Folio Society regarding next week saying that I should be ready for some news coming from them. A dream would be to be first out in presenting what ever they have in store but maybe they or Ian Fleming Publications wish to be first out. Whatever happens you can be sure that something very interesting will be relived next week.

So keep coming back to the blog and do follow it on Facebook to make sure you do not miss out on any news regarding the literary James Bond.

PS. A big warm thank you to my friend, the journalist Morten Steingrimsen from Norway who said to believe that I could start a blog on my own. And also to all the readers who have helped me when having questions down the road. 

Lets keep Bonding!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The final words of Sir Roger Moore


As we all know Sir Roger Moore sadly passed away earlier this year just a few moths before he would turn 90 years old.

During his last years he wrote a lot of books about his career and friends. Now his new book has just been released in the UK and will soon be released in the US.

The first book was called MY WORD IS MY BOND and was an autobiography about Roger Moore written by himself. You can order MY WORD IS MY BOND here from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

The second book was BOND ON BOND. A book about James Bond and the different films he has appeared in. This book was not very well received and to my knowledge the publishers even planed a re-release of the book were they corrected all the mistakes. In my view the book was mostly for young and inexperienced Bond fans. You can order BOND ON BOND here from Amazon US or Amazon UK.  

The third book to be released from the pen of Roger Moore was LAST MAN STANDING. This book highlights Roger Moore's film career and all the people he has worked with or stories he have heard about other actors like Tony Curtis, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, David Niven, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, John Mills, Peter Sellers, Michael Winner, Cubby Broccoli and many more.
You can order LAST MAN STANDING here from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

The forth and final book from Roger Moore has just been released in the UK and will be released in the US on November first. The book is called À Bientôt and is in short a book about getting older and all the things and thoughts that comes with it. À Bientôt seems to be a very strong book with many gripping moments of Roger Moore's career. This will be a must have for me.  

You can order À Bientôt here from Amazon US or Amazon UK.
UK Daily Mirror landed an interview with Roger Moore's daughter Deborah Moore that is very very good. You can find it here.   





Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Exclusive interview with Folio Society


The company Folio Society has released Casino Royale, From Russia with love and Dr No in their luxurious series of James Bond books. The company apparently very seldom do interviews and therefore I am extra happy to share my interview with the company containing some very interesting news.

So let the  interview with Tom Walker, Editorial Director, The Folio Society begin.

1. Are you planning to release all books in the Fleming series?
We are very much hoping to do so, yes., if Ian Fleming’s estate continues to support our series and Fay Dalton is available to illustrate it quite so superbly.

2.  Will you re-release Live and let die since you have already released it in 2007.
If and when we complete the series we will certainly re-approach Live and Let Die in our updated livery.

3.  I noticed that my Casino Royale edition is a second printing. How many issues was the first and second printing individually.
Although I can’t go into exact numbers, we have been delighted by the reception of our editions – evidently the novels remain essential reading, and eminently collectable. The design and illustrations are undoubtedly appealing across the generations: I have had very positive comments from Bond readers all over the world.

4.  What will be the next title of the Fleming books you release. My guess is On Her Majesty’s secret service.
That is an excellent suggestion! All I can say is that we are currently working two to three books ahead…

5.  What makes you choose the order of the books? 
Well it made sense to start at the beginning, with Casino Royale. Obviously it felt too soon to revisit Live and Let Die, so we decided to break the chronology and go instead to one of the best loved of the series, From Russia With Love. This has the advantage of playing to our own whims, so we have partly selected our favourites to follow these up. Generally though we are starting to get back on a chronological track.

6.   Does Fay Dalton deliver more paintings then ends up in the book.
Fay basically submits what we commission, in terms of final artwork. Getting to that stage however, is a very long process and for every final image there will be anything up to ten rough stages, with details tweaked and suggestions both from Folio and from the Fleming estate all integrated. Fay has been unbelievably patient during this process, and it has been a joy to see final illustrations which match the original text to such a find level of detail.

7.   Are the Folio Society books only sold in English?
Yes, we only sell English-language editions.

8.   At what pace will the forthcoming books be released.
We really follow Fay’s schedule – at the moment she is able to produce work for around two a year, although I realise many readers would rather she could do a few more!

9.   Consumers are asking for more drawings in the upcoming books. Might this be possible?
I think it unlikely, but I never say never!

10.   Can you talk a bit about the binding and what made you choose the layout of the actual book.
Our books are designed to be unique. Even within a series, the cover imagery will differ in relation to the story, often with bold designs blocked onto cloth. When we embarked on Casino Royale our Art Director, Sheri Gee, had an idea to create a series of books that would have a classy look across the whole series. Designing them in a mock suit material, each blocked a differing geometric pattern, the series should look as sharp and stylish as Bond himself. Only on the slipcases is there a tantalizing glimpse into the story, to tempt you under the covers. 

The web address to The Folio Society is www.foliosociety.com

Illustration by Fay Dalton from The Folio Society edition of Casino Royale by Ian Fleming ©Fay Dalton

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The rare Ian Fleming memorial address


During the weekend hard core Ian Fleming fans has discussed the Ian Fleming memorial address written by William Plomer

So what is the memorial address you might wonder. 

Well Ian Fleming died on August 12th 1964 at the age of 56. He was buried on September 15th. At the funeral Flemings editor William Plomer had written an address about Flemings life and who he was. 

This adress was printed in two versions. a softback in 250 copies and a much rarer hardback in 50 copies. All 300 copies came with an original plain tissue wrapper.

These are quite hard to come by and can cost a lot. I myself paid £300 for the hardback and £110 for the softback version. I found them both on Ebay. But if money is not your problem the hardback can be bought here for as much as £895. 

The only problem as I see it is that I have trouble finding any evidence for the amount figures that are floating around between collectors. I have reread both the ending of Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett and The Life of Ian Fleming by John Pearson and none of the books mentions these figures or the actual addresses at the funeral. 

I have always said that the best Bond fans are those who very seldom collect anything, the ones who can stay calm and not buy anything. Like this address that you might wish to read once and then just own it in your collection.. So here is your chance. Jump over to SpyVibe were the entire Fleming memorial address has been uploaded at this link

If you do have any knowledge from were the print numbers came from and what people was given the hardbacks it would be very interesting to take part of that information. Please get in contact below or any other way you see appropriate.  

If you wish to read about my visit to Ian Flemings grave you can do so here!


The hardback and softback version of the memorial address. 


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