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Ian Fleming's books for sale

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  February 21, 2013 09:33 AM

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The coming weeks are going to be big for Bond. Skyfall is up for five Academy Awards this Sunday, making it the first Bond film to contend for an Oscar since For Your Eyes Only in 1982. A Bond 50th-anniversary tribute will also air during the Oscars (although, regrettably, all the Bonds from Connery to Craig won't be lining up alongside each other).

Even if Skyfall comes home empty-handed, things are still looking up for the estate of Ian Fleming, creator of the Bond series. A collection of his books, manuscripts, and correspondence is going up for auction available in a sale that could bring in as much as $1.5 million. [Correction: The Fleming items are for sale en bloc, not up for auction as I wrote initially.] Were I as good as Bond at craps, here are a few of the items from the Glenn Horowitz Bookseller sale I'd be especially excited to get:

The ornithological field guide from which the name James Bond originated. The auction catalogue explains, "When Fleming began Casino Royale, the first of the Bond novels, he appropriated his hero’s name from the title page of Field Guide of Birds of the West Indies (1947) by one James Bond. He later explained, 'I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest sounding name I could find. James Bond seemed perfect.'”

Bond Field Guide.jpg

Manuscript lyrics to the theme song for “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service," inscribed by Louis Armstrong to his manager, Joe Glaser: "To Joe from Satch."
Bond Armstrong.jpg

I also like a lot of the first-edition dust jacket illustrations, which are altogether more grim than you'd expect from such a jaunty franchise.

Bond For Your Eyes.jpg

Bond Goldfinger.jpg

Bond Thunderball.jpg

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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