The James Bond character has always been synonymous with enigma and charm. His elusive nature, however, is going to unravel slightly with the revelation that Sotheby’s has to offer. In December, private letters written by Agent 007 creator Ian Fleming to his mistress-turned-wife Ann Charteris will go under the gavel. The contents of these letters disclose more than two decades’ worth of correspondence between Fleming and Charteris and they’re vital in learning more about how James Bond came to be.
“James Bond was very much a product of Ian and Ann’s relationship,” says Dr. Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s specialist in Books and Manuscripts. “It is no coincidence that Ian wrote his first Bond novel in the same year they were married, both as an outlet for his libido and imagination and also in an attempt to make money for a woman who was used to being unthinkingly rich.”
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There are over 160 letters included in this lot, written across 500 pages. The letters will be sold in a Sotheby’s London online sale on December 3 to 10, for an estimated £200,000 to £300,000, or P13.15 to P19.72 million.
“These letters remain largely unpublished and, in their scope and scale, must surely be an unmatchable record of the life of the author as his fortunes changed: they begin during the war, when he was working in intelligence, cover his post-war forays into journalism, long periods spent in his beloved Jamaica, and his creation of James Bond—one of the most enduring fictional characters of the last 70 years. As well as recording a relationship with an extraordinary erotic charge, this correspondence charts the meteoric rise of Bond and paints a vivid picture of high society living in the post-war world.”