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Ian Fleming – James Bond’s First Edition Books: Identification Guide

Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming

Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908 – 1964) was a British writer, journalist and naval intelligence officer who is best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst, and, briefly, the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through several jobs before he started writing.

While working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.

Ian Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952. It was a success, with three print runs being commissioned to cope with the demand. Eleven Bond novels and two collections of short stories followed between 1953 and 1966. The novels revolve around James Bond, an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. James Bond is also known by his code number, 007, and was a commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. The Bond stories rank among the best-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children’s story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two works of non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked Fleming 14th on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.

Ian Fleming’s last two books, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy and The Living Daylights, were published posthumously.The Man with the Golden Gun was published eight months after Fleming’s death and had not been through the full editing process by Fleming. As a result, the novel was thought by publishing company Jonathan Cape to be thin and “feeble”. The publishers had passed the manuscript to Kingsley Amis to read on holiday, but did not use his suggestions. Fleming’s biographer Henry Chandler observes that the novel “received polite and rather sad reviews, recognising that the book had effectively been left half-finished, and as such did not represent Fleming at the top of his game”. The final Bond book, containing two short stories, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, was published in Britain on 23 June 1966.

During his lifetime Fleming sold thirty million books; double that number were sold in the two years following his death.

Ian Fleming – First Editions Identification Guide

How to Identify First Edition books by Ian Fleming
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1953Casino RoyaleJonathan Cape, London, 1953First UK edition. "First Published 1953" stated on © page. Black cloth, bottom edge untrimmed. 4278 copies printed. Dust jacket (10s. 6d.), no Times review. Two states dust jacket, priority as listed:
  • (A) Unclipped Dust jacket, price list horizontally on bottom of Dust jacket.
  • (B) Clipped Dust jacket, price list vertically on top of Dust jacket.
ALSO: MacMillan, NY, 1953. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. (Published March, 1954). 4000 copies printed. Dust jacket ($2.75)
ALSO: Pan Books, 1955. First Paperback edition. "This edition published 1955" stated on © page. Three variants, no priority:
  • (A) 2' printed to the front.
  • (B) Unpriced.
  • (C) 2' on a label to the front.
1954Live and Let DieJonathan Cape, London, 1954First UK edition. "First Printed 1954" stated on © page. Black cloth. 7500 copies printed. Dust jacket (10s. 6d.). Three states Dust jacket, priority as listed:
  • (A) No credit to Kenneth Lewis to front flap.
  • (B) Credit to Kenneth Lewis centered between the gap of the text and the price at the bottom corner of the flap.
  • (C) Credit to Kenneth Lewis right after the text.
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1955. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($3.00).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1957. First Paperback edition. GP83 code on the spine. Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) On thick, better quality paper, 18mm. Issued with 2'6 price on front, and unpriced (uncommon).
  • (B) Thin, cheap paper, 15mm. Issued with 2'6 price, 50c sticker (Canadian pricing), unpriced (uncommon).
1955MoonrakerJonathan Cape, London, 1955
  • First UK edition. "First Published 1955" stated on © page. Black cloth. 9900 copies printed. Two states, priority as listed:
  • (A) pp. 10 "shoo" for "shoot" at the line before the last.
  • (B) Corrected "shoot" on pp. 10. Dust jacket (10s. 6d.).
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1955. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($2.75).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1956. First Paperback edition. "This edition published 1956" stated on © page with no additional printings.
Note: Although Moonraker was the 3rd Bond novel series, it was released in paperback before Live and Let Die (1957).
1956Diamonds Are ForeverJonathan Cape, London, 1956First UK edition. "First Published 1956" stated on © page. Black cloth. 12,500 copies printed. Dust jacket (12s. 6d.).
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1953. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($2.75).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1958. First Paperback edition. G101 code on the spine. Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) 2'6 price on the cover.
  • (B) Unpriced.
1957From Russia, with LoveJonathan Cape, London, 1957First UK edition. "First Published 1957" stated on © page. Black cloth. Dust jacket (12s. 6d.).
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1957. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($3.50).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1959. First Paperback edition. Code G229 on spine. Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) Price 2'6 on the cover.
  • (B) Unpriced.
1957The Diamond SmugglersJonathan Cape, London, 1957First UK edition. "First Published 1957" stated on © page. Black cloth. Dust jacket (12s. 6d.). Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) Gilt title to the spine (uncommon)
  • (B) White title to the spine.
ALSO: Pan Books, 1960. First Paperback edition. Code G328 to spine. Two variants, no priority: Price 2'6 to front cover; Unpriced (export copies).
1958Dr. NoJonathan Cape, London, 1958First UK edition. "First Published 1958" stated on © page. Black cloth. Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) Blindstamped dancing girl on front cover (less common).
  • (B) Without blindstamped dancing girl.
Dust jacket (12s. 6d.). Two states, priority as listed:
  • (A) Author's name "Ian Fleming" printed in black on spine.
  • (B) Author's name printed in white on spine.
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1958. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($3.50).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1960. First Paperback edition. Code G335 on spine. Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) Price 2'6 on the cover.
  • (B) Unpriced.
1959GoldfingerJonathan Cape, London, 1959First UK edition. "First Published 1959" stated on © page. Black cloth. Dust jacket (15s.).
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1959. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($2.95).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1961. First Paperback edition. Code G455 on spine. Three variants, no priority: 2'6 price on cover; unpriced and 2'6 sticker on cover.
1960For Your Eyes OnlyJonathan Cape, London, 1960First UK edition. "First Published 1960" stated on © page. Black cloth. Dust jacket (15s.).
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1960. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($3.50).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1962. First Paperback edition. Code G551 on spine. Four variants, no priority: 2'6 price on cover; unpriced; 2/6 sticker on cover and 4' Australian on cover.
1961ThunderballJonathan Cape, London, 1961First UK edition. "First Published 1961" stated on © page. Black cloth. Dust jacket (15s.).
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1961. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($3.95).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1963. First Paperback edition. Code X201 to front cover and spine. Three variants, no priority: 3'6 price on cover; Unpriced (Australia) and 3'6 sticker label on front cover.
1962The Spy Who Loved MeJonathan Cape, London, 1962First UK edition. "First Published 1962" stated on © page. Black cloth. Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) A "quad mark" printing error between "FLE" and "MING" on the title page (uncommon).
  • (B) No error to author's name on title page.
ALSO: MacMillan Co., NY, 1962. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($3.95).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1967. Two variants, no priority:
  • (A) Code X653 to front cover and spine. Pricing on rear cover in blue ink.
  • (B) Canadian variant, 60c printed to top of front cover.
Notes: Pan Books did a huge print run of almost 500k copies for the first printing. Subsequent printings have smaller runs, thus scarcer. This is the first new redesigned, uniformed look for the Bond novels. All 14 Bond books were published with this new design and are quite common.
1963On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceJonathan Cape, London, 1963First UK edition. "First Published 1963" stated on © page. Black cloth. Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) Limited edition of 250 signed copies on quarter vellum boards, glassine wrappers.
  • (B) Regular trade edition. Dust jacket (16s.).
ALSO: New American Library, 196. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($4.50).
ALSO: Pan Books, 1964. First Paperback edition. Code X350 to front cover. Three variants, no priority:
  • (A) Unpriced WITHOUT "Not For Sale In the UK" on the back.
  • (B) Unpriced WITH "Not For Sale In the UK" on the back.
  • (C) Canadian edition, 60c printed on the cover.
Notes: The first three printings are "export only" and not sold in the UK. First printings, unpriced are rare. The Canadian edition with 60c price is more common.
1963Thrilling CitiesJonathan Cape, London, 1963First UK edition. "© 1963 by Glidrose Productions Ltd." stated on © page. Brown boards, white spine. Dust jacket (30s.).
Note: Later copies has an Erratum slip inserted at pg. 223.
ALSO: Pan Books, 1964. First Paperback edition. Code X332 to spine. Two variants, no priority: Price 3'6 printed to the front; Unpriced.
1964You Only Live TwiceJonathan Cape, London, 1964First UK edition. "First Published 1964" stated on © page. Black cloth. Dust jacket (16s.). Two variants Dust jacket, no priority:
  • (A) Wide Dust jacket flaps, unclipped corners (uncommon).
  • (B) Regular size Dust jacket flaps, clipped corners. Note: Copies with "First Published March 1964" stated on © page are second printing.
ALSO: New American Library, 1964. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($4.50).
  • ALSO: Pan Books, 1965. First Paperback edition. Code X434 to spine and front cover. Three variants, no priority:
  • (A) Unpriced, shinny cover almost look laminated. "Not for Sale in the UK" to bottom back cover.
  • (B) 60c printed to front cover (Canadian edition). Less common than the unpriced one.
  • (C) Same as (A) with promotional Dust jacket, with pictures from the movie on cover and blank flap. Very rare.
1964Chitty-Chitty-Bang-BangJonathan Cape, London, 1964Three volumes (published between 1964-1965). First UK edition. "First Published by Jonathan Cape Ltd 1964" stated on © page. Pictorial boards. Dust jacket (10'6d.) ALSO: Pan Books, 1968. First Paperback edition. Code R to the spine (code for 8/6 price). "Fabulous Film Coming" to ads on front cover.
1965The Man with the Golden GunJonathan Cape, London, 1965First UK edition. "First Published 1965" stated on © page. Black cloth. Three variants, no priority: (A) Front board has an embossed golden gun. (1% of the books published). Extremely rare. (B) Blank front board, blank endpapers (10% of the books published), uncommon. (C) Same as (B) with green marbled endpapers. Note: Some copies exported to Canada has the half-title page reset "THE MAN" | " with the GOLDEN GUN" is printed on two lines. Less common than (C) ALSO: New American Library, 1965. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($4.50). ALSO: Pan Books, 1966. First Paperback edition. Code X527 to spine and front cover. Two variants, no priority: (A) Unpriced. (B) 60c printed on front cover (printed in Canada),
1966Octopussy and The Living DaylightsJonathan Cape, London, 1966First UK edition. "First Published 1966" stated on © page. Two variants, no priority: (A) Black cloth, less common. (B) Brown cloth. Dust jacket (10s. 6d.), repriced over the years with stickers pasted on top of the price. ALSO: New American Library, 1966. First American edition. "First Printing" stated on © page. DJ ($4.50). ALSO: Pan Books, 1967. First Paperback edition. Code X668 to spine and front cover. Two variants, no priority: (A) Price to rear, printed in the UK. (B) 60c printed on top of front cover. Printed in Canada.

Ian Fleming – First Printing Dust Jackets Identification Guide

Gallery of First state Dust Jackets of Fleming’s works. Only includes the first appearance in book form. Either the UK or US edition and does not include later printings.

Reference:

BOOKSTORE: Rare, Antiquarian, First editions, Illustrated Children's Books

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