Field Report: Joachim Koch from ‘Books Tell You Why’

1. What are the rarest Bond 1st Editions you have?

One of the most desirable James Bond titles we currently offer is Ian Fleming’s first book, Casino Royale, a fine first edition in a near fine dust wrapper, quite scarce in the trade. Less than 3,000 books were printed in the first state, only few survive in such excellent condition. We generally have a rather comprehensive offering of first editions from Ian Fleming, John Gardner, and Raymond Benson. Collectors look to “follow the flag,” that often means the first UK editions (such as the ones by Cape, in the case of Ian Fleming’s books), rather than the first US editions. We’re also proud to offer a number of signed first editions.


2. How do you go about sourcing them?

We’ve been offering James Bond literature for quite some time and we’re fortunate to have visibility among enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. It’s not uncommon for individuals to contact us about selling individual titles or their entire James Bond collections. It’s really a privilege to work with our clients in this way. We’ll also come across interesting James Bond items at book fairs or auctions.  In either case, we are actively buying and welcome opportunities to help sell James Bond books.

Regardless of how one encounters interesting material, authoritative bibliographies are indispensable for determining factors like scarcity or potential value. Pickard’s and Biondi’s early bibliographic work is a terrific starting point. John Gilbert’s Ian Fleming bibliography, which won an international award in 2013, is truly a magnificent work and a collectible item in its own right. With this most comprehensive repository of knowledge in the field of Ian Fleming, Gilbert sets a new standard in bibliography.

ian-fleming-bibliography-jon-gilbert james bond 007 book

3. What is the current state of the Bond 1st Edition market?

From what we’ve seen over the years, the market for James Bond first editions of exceptional quality has stayed rather strong, books continue to appreciate in value. Meanwhile, a new James Bond movie is released about every two years. Even though the movies may differ quite substantially from the books, the visibility of James Bond gets refreshed rather powerfully around the globe. Watching a James Bond movie, people often become curious about the origin of the characters and the story, and those questions lead back to Ian Fleming and the creation of his famous M16 agent.

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4. Will 1st Editions ever run out?

MoneypennyThere are a couple of different ways to answer this question. Since Ian Fleming wrote his last James Bond title, Octopussy and the Living Daylights, a number of Bond authors have continued Fleming’s legacy. The last work, Solo, was written by William Boyd and published this past September. The ongoing interest will undoubtedly maintain the coverage of James Bond, not only about his prime years as Agent 007, but also about his back story. Charlie Higson already wrote about Bond’s school years at Eaton in the 1930’s and Samantha Weinberg wrote as Kate Westbrook in The Moneypenny Diaries. So one way to answer that question is, no, first editions won’t run out because there will likely be new authors, bringing us new aspects of Bond’s life–and new first editions to collect.

However, with reference to first editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, of course they will run out. They already have. This doesn’t mean that the occasional, maybe even previously unknown variation won’t pop up at a book fair or secondhand shop, but copies in fine condition will remain scarce and willbecome even more so as the demand for James Bond books continues.  An attractive scenario.

5. Do you have a favorite Richard Chopping dust jacket?

Certainly Goldfinger, Chopping’s second James Bond cover, he really nails the spirit and mood of the story. Why is it my favorite? I’d give you the same answer as if asked for my favorite Bond Girl…..


Incidental Intelligence

Books Tell You Why, specializes in rare books, signed books, first editions and exceptional books for the discerning collector.

photo-14With roots from the 20th century, Books Tell You Why was established in its current form in 2002 in South Carolina, U.S. What started out with a few very valuable books from personal collections is expanding rapidly and has established itself as one of the leading sources for rare and autographed books in the Southeastern United States. Their international customer base continues to give them great marks for outstanding service and quality of their books.

One thought on “Field Report: Joachim Koch from ‘Books Tell You Why’

  1. Pingback: 007 Ways to Buy James Bond 1st Editions | Artistic License Renewed

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