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Rare James Bond Book Fetches *$21,258

Vintage 1954 first edition collects more than triple its high estimate

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June 20, 2012
By James Massey

(Source: WhatSellsBest.com) - A rare first edition of Ian Fleming's, James Bond, 'Live and Let Die' (shown below) fetched *$21,258 (£13,750) soaring well above its high-estimate ($6,000/£4,000) at a recent Christie's auction.

'Live and Let Die', was the second novel in Fleming's James Bond series. It was first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape on April 5th, 1954. First edition, first print copies, in good condition, appear to be in-demand by collectors.

Christies
Image: Christie's

This particular book was described by Christie's as; "(a) First edition of the second bond novel, in an attractive example of the first issue dust jacket, with the price '10s.6d. Net' and blurb on the front flap, and without any credit for the jacket design."

Why So Rare & Expensive?

Huge Demand. Fleming's early 'Bond Books' are credited for launching one of the most iconic fictional character's in popular culture. Because of this, there's a huge demand for Bond memorabilia from a large base of collectors and fans, worldwide.

Small Supply. 'Live and Let Die' had an initial print run of only 7,500 copies, which quickly sold-out after its April release in 1954. Because of the small supply, and the amount of time that has passed (58 years for this particular book), it's very rare to find a first-run copy in excellent condition with the original dust jacket still intact.

Big Surprise. The book tripled it's high estimate ($6,000/£4,000), so it's likely the price may have been driven by a bidding-war breaking out between two or more collectors who felt they 'had to have it'.

While a bidding-war is easy to imagine due to the many types of collectors (rare book, pop culture, film, etc.) who might have interest. Only time (and future sales) will tell whether this auction was an anomaly, or if a new price point has been established for the book. (See comparable past sales below)

The Strange Story of How & Why 'James Bond' got his Name

Reportedly in a 1962 interview in The New Yorker, Fleming explained that: "When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument...when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, (James Bond) is the dullest name I ever heard."

Video: How Bond was named, as told by Ian Fleming - 1 minute (Source: Youtube)


Past Sales of 'Live and Let Die'

June 1, 2009, a first edition of 'Live and Let Die' was sold for $11,803/£7,250 by Christie's Auction House.

April 4th, 2012, a first edition of 'Live and Let Die' was sold for $8,500 by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

June 13, 2012, a first edition of 'Live and Let Die' was sold for $21,258/£13,750 by Christie's Auction House (direct link to the auction).

October 11, 2002 - For an example of a book with provenance. Winston Churchill's personal copy of 'Live and Let Die' with a personal message from Mr. Fleming (to Mr. Churchill) was sold for $71,700 by Christie's Auction House.

Also See: Recent Completed Sales of 'Live and Let Die' on eBay

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