SANATOGA PA – The new movie “Quantum of Solace,” starring British actor Daniel Craig as British super-spy James Bond, opened Friday (Nov. 14, 2008) in theaters surrounding Sanatoga. Admission price, $8-$13 per ticket, depending on when and where it’s screened. Compare that to the current cost of owning a rare, first edition book by Bond author Ian Fleming, inscribed with the writer’s signature: $1,000 to $30,000.
Those are the going prices, per book, for any one of 14 Bond books written by Fleming between 1953 and 1966. They’re being offered, individually or in a set, by Bauman Rare Books in Center City Philadelphia.
What makes a book rare? The fact that it’s a first edition, one of the first hardcovers off the publisher’s press; its condition, usually pristine; and often the author’s autograph. A book’s popularity is really what makes all those other things valuable, and the Bond series continues to be highly popular.
2008 marks both the opening of the 22nd film in the James Bond series, as well as the 100th anniversary of Fleming’s birth.
Born into a wealthy and influential British family in 1908, Fleming was propelled to a prominent role in the Royal Navy’s department of Naval Intelligence during World War II. His hands-on experience planning spy activities and organizing a select unit for intelligence gathering served as a basis for the novels that would bring him worldwide acclaim.
In 1952, Fleming began his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, and he continued producing a new novel every year or so for the rest of his life. President John F. Kennedy reportedly read all of the published books and counted “From Russia, With Love” as one of his top ten favorite books.