An early uncorrected proof of Ian Fleming's penultimate James Bond novel 'You Only Live Twice' broke auction estimates this month...

Playboy's Fleming Manuscript

19th December 2012

It is not often that an original Ian Fleming manuscript comes up for auction, so it was of little surprise that an uncorrected proof of his penultimate James Bond adventure 'You Only Live Twice' would double the lot estimate when the hammer came down this month.

The uncorrected proof copy for the first English edition of 'You Only Live Twice', marked up for serial publication in three parts in Playboy Magazine in April-June 1963, was last auctioned at Christie's in New York City and sold for $17,925 in 2003. Almost ten years later, the same document sold for almost quadruple that amount: £43,250 ($70,000).

literature fleming auction you only live twice playboy manuscript1
Above: The lot as auctioned by Sotheby's this month (click to enlarge).

The manuscript contains authorial corrections and revisions in red ink to 53 pages, including changes that do not correspond to corrections made for book publication, and further extensive corrections and emendations, mostly in pencil, by the copyeditor, including about 16,000 words marked for deletion.


Above: An illustration by Daniel Schwartz published in Playboy's serialization of 'You Only Live Twice' in 1964 (not included in the Lot)

It also included: One carbon letter from Ian Fleming (initial-signed) to Michael Howard of Jonathan Cape Ltd. regarding some Japanese references in the text, two carbon letters from Howard to Fleming in response to Fleming's letter, one typed and one carbon letter from Fleming's secretary, B. Griffie-Williams, to Playboy regarding corrections to the text, the former with Fleming's typed list of corrections for the proof attached, two typed letters signed from Fleming's agent Phyllis Jackson to A.C. Spectorksy submitting the corrected proofs to Playboy, a two-page typed list of Japanese translations for terms used in the story (corrected in ink and pencil, some possibly in Fleming's hand) and related notes from Arlene Bouras at Playboy regarding word count and storyline. Together 10 items, various sizes, August-December 1963.

As with most auctions, the latest buyer has remained anonymous.

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