Collecting rare edition Ian Fleming books

04 September 2015 ( 01 October 2018 )

Before the world's favourite spy became a movie franchise to rival even the might of Star Wars, James Bond was a character bursting to life on page from the pen of Ian Fleming.

Collecting Ian Fleming novels is something that many find rewarding and these rare books are bound to find an appreciative home if you intend to give them as a gift. 

But what do you need to know if you plan to start?

What to look out for

• It should say Jonathan Cape on the title page;

• It should say “first published…” with the correct year (and no other) on the back of the title page.

• To be truly collectable it should also be in its original dust jacket which should be in a good condition. You can tell is an original jacket as it won’t have any quotations from critics.

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Are some books more collectable than others? 

When The Man with the Golden Gun was first published, a very small number of copies were decorated with a golden gun on the front of the book. Unfortunately, this was quickly abandoned for economic reasons so books with a golden gun on them are rare and will fetch more money.

Ian Fleming signed a limited edition of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service books which are also rare.

Scarcity plays a role in determining the value. Very few copies of the first three books were published (Casino Royale, Live & Let Die and Moonraker) whereas Octopussy, Ian Fleming’s last book, had a much larger print run and is therefore much more common, so fine copies start from just £65.

Apart from the above, the price of Ian Fleming collectibles depends on their condition. Perfect copies cost tens of thousands of pounds with an edition of Casino Royale fetching £50,000 in 2013, whilst nice ones are available from only a few hundred pounds.

Peter Harrington has two shops in London and they specialise in fine books dating from the 15th to the 20th century. For more information go to

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.