Sunday, January 22, 2012

JAMES BOND UK first edition paperbacks 1955-1979

Here are the James Bond UK first edition paperbacks spanning 1955 (Casino Royale) to 1979 (James Bond and Moonraker). These are all from my own collection. I thought it might be nice to not only show to the covers of these book, but the backs as well. Notice that the back of Moonraker refers to the filming of Casino Royale? Click on each image to enlarge.

It might surprise you to know that the rarest and most valuable book is actually On Her Majesty's Secret Service (followed by Octopussy). For whatever reason, the later books are very hard to find as true UK paperback firsts. The key is to find copies without a price on the cover. Check out page 122 of Bond Bound and you'll see that even their OHMSS -- which is captioned as a first edition -- has a price on the cover.

I should also point out that my You Only Live Twice, which is noted on the copyright page as a first edition, came with a wrap-around dust-jacket featuring the UK tie-in movie art and says on the back "Not for Sale in the UK", so I'm not sure what the story is with this edition. Also, my Live and Let Die is from 1957, but I've never seen an earlier edition so it's possible it was published out of order and this was the true first.

I'll take us into the 1980s and '90s next.


  1. I see they segued to photos from paintings with Thunderball. What a pity.

  2. Wow, those painted covers are fantastic. Just wish they would go back to that iso photo-montages. Just gives more class.

  3. Ah, now THESE are the ones that I love! (Up until Thunderball, anyway.) I don't have many of these ones in firsts, though. I'm very impressed by your CR! And I didn't know about the price on front as a point of issue. Thanks as always for your great insights. I love the pulpy painted artwork, though the only depiction of Bond himself that really works for me is FRWL - which nails it. But all the painted ones are awesome. I've always particularly loved that FYEO, too. I don't care for the later Pans, though, from TB to Octopussy.

  4. What a great collection - bravo !
    This was when cover art was really art.
    My personal favourite series are the Raymond Hawkey covers that started with Thunderball. I particularly like TB & OHMSS.
    Hawkey was a genius sales rocketed when PAN adopted his design template (I might be wrong, but I think that TB is the only one he actually did himself with the rest being signed off by him but done by others to his format).
    Great stuff and halcyon days when publishers new how to sell books.

  5. Looks like Craig wasn't Casino Royale's first blond Bond.

  6. I've slowly started collecting the early ones myself; the artwork is just perfect. Interesting info, thanks for posting it up.

  7. I had a table sale today and was going to sell my whole collection of Pan James Bond books for £2-£5 each including some of the earlier ones mentioned here. I was advised by other stall holders that I should check on the internet first because I might be selling them to cheaply.
    I am now interested in keeping the earlier ones based on the comments here about the artwork.


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