Sunday 12 August 2012

Goldfinger, Great Pan paperback edition (and a Moonraker melange)

A 'bread and butter' book this week: nothing to set the world on fire, not especially rare, but a nice copy of a collectable book, and an excuse to link to this (the best ever deployment of the line "Good evening Mr Bond").

I'm not a James Bond collector, luckily, as it can be an expensive business. Dustjacketed firsts are a mainstay of UK Bookfairs, and copies of the early ones in really good nick go for silly money. Add a Fleming signature and we're into the stratosphere. Bond never seems to go out of fashion, but after that Olympic cameo, and with the 50th anniversary of the first film adaptation, Dr. No, and a new movie, Skyfall, both coming up this year, I imagine the book collecting side is in pretty rude health.

I suppose there must be people out there who have gone beyond the hardback firsts and now want to collect all editions of every Bond novel (an endless task, surely), but one of the first stages on that journey must be to assemble a shelf of paperback first editions. It's by no means easy (true first printings of the paperback of On Her Majesty's Secret Service are ridiculously rare), but if you're not fussy about getting a 1st/1st – the copy I'm selling this week is a 1st/5th, for example – then you can find copies without having to break into Fort Knox (see what I did there?).

Then again, this book might find a buyer who is not a Bond collector. This chap collects Pan paperbacks. His wonderful website is both a testament to a rather scary obsession, and a very useful research tool. He's only got three Pans left to go before he has a full set. I rather hope he never makes it. (What will he feel like if he did?)

For Bond collectors though, here's the paperback motherlode: Piz Gloria (named after the location used for Blofeld's mountain base in O.H.M.S.S.) has nearly 500 different covers to pore over.

By way of illustration, here are the covers, in no particular order, for Moonraker alone (or Too Hot to Handle, as it was first called in the USA... )

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