Tuesday, March 27, 2012

John Gardner's James Bond

Even though John Gardner died in 2007, there has been a renewed interest in his James Bond novels because 2011 was the thirtieth anniversary of the renewed series.  License Renewed, Gardner's first attempt at Bond, was published in America and in England in 1981.  He ultimately composed 14 Bond novels and two movie adaptations.  Of concern to collectors is the fact that the Jonathan Cape publications seem to have a greater value than the Merek/Coward, Macann/Putnam versions.  This could be due to greater sales in America or it could be due to variance in dust jackets.  The art work for the Cape editions being more ornate than the rather plain American editions published by the varied American publishers.  The American jackets have more of a Bond/Fleming feel though.  Recently in Iverness, Florida, I found a collection for sale at the local Goodwill.  As they were first printings in very good to fine condition, I purchased For Special Services, Icebreaker, and Role of Honor.  These are the second, third, and fourth books in Gardner series. The copy of License Renewed at the Goodwill was a book club edition so I decided not to purchase it.  It bought a decent first edition/first printing online through Amazon.com to complete the series.  For just over ten dollars, I got Gardner's first four attempts at Bond.  These books would be a nice addition to anyone's spy library though they should not be confused with the originals or with Le Carre at his best.

Avenel Mystery Collections

Between 1979 and 1988 Avenel Publishing Company published a series of collected novels by some of the most famous mystery writers.  These collections were distributed by Crown Publishing. The dust jackets are glossy and in some cases dynamic, but the paper that they used for these collections frequently yellows or tans making them less attractive than they might be.  In very good to as new condition, these collections can be quite valuable especially if they are first printings.  Of the editions pictured, the most collectable are the Ian Fleming Bond and Rex Stout with copies in mint condition going for as much as one hundred dollars and more.  The Saint by Leslie Charteris is also quite collectable.  Recently I picked up copies of the Cain, Marquand, and Mickey Spillane books at Goodwill sales.  These collections contain some great novels that are very difficult finds. I always look for a complete numberline or in the case of these books a complete letter line which begins with an "A". and for dust jackets that are at least in very good condition.  Remember if a book has any water damage, it is probably beyond salvage no matter how well it might fit your collection.  I recently passed up the James Bond collection with staining on the bottom and some mildew even though the rest of the book looked to be okay.  Collectors should remember to be extremely critical before purchasing a book.  Look behind flaps for names, check for moisture wrinkles, and look for missing or trimmed pages.  These flaws detract from future value and should be noted before getting a book home.  Take your time looking over a book even though it appears to be a great find.