First edition 'Casino Royale' currently being auctioned on eBay

Collecting - 27-03-13
Ian Fleming first editions are rare enough in themselves, but it is not every day that Fleming's debut publication goes under the hammer. And this time, it's not auctioned in a glitsy auction house, but by a private collector on eBay.

Edward Biddulph, editor of the James Bond Memes weblog and contributor to and MI6 Confidential is that very collector.

Casino Royale first edition - Ebay auction.

His story about finding the first edition, and his rationale for selling it is touching:

I came into some money a few years ago and decided to invest in some Fleming first editions. I bought On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Man With The Golden Gun, Octopussy – the later Flemings that are generally more affordable – but then, as I was looking through Abebooks, I noticed a relatively affordable copy of Casino Royale – a first edition too.

The book was an ex-library edition and needed a little restoration work, but the main thing was that it was a 1st edition published in 1953 by Cape. I couldn’t let that get away, so I bought it. The seller, a bookseller based in New Zealand emailed me photographs and advised me on any restoration work.

When the book arrived, I was very excited; when I held it, it was like holding a piece of history. Later I took the book to the professional bookbinders and had the book restored. It was now as good as new.

I also commissioned the bookbinder to make a slip case. The case, in matching red boards, was perfect, the book within its case look very attractive The book has taken pride of place in my Bond library, and every now and again, I look through the book and read a page or two.

Since buying the book, however, I have had another wonderful addition – a daughter. Childcare, though, is proving very expensive, and money’s been getting tighter and tighter as the poor economic situation continues.

And so, after thinking long and hard about it, I’ve decided to sell Casino Royale. However, this isn’t the start of a massive Bond book sale. I’m not selling anything else, and I am keeping my other first editions and my extensive library of books all about Bond (indeed, I continue to add to it).

Casino Royale first edition - Ebay auction.

Thanks to David for the alert.

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