The Macmillan Company, 1961. Octavo. Orignal blue cloth-backed black boards, spine and front cover lettered in gilt. With dust jacket. Together with two typed letters signed from Fleming to James Bond, 2 leaves (253 x 202 mm), headed notepaper ("4, Old Mitre Court, Fleet Street, E.C.4") and one envelope. Housed in a custom blue cloth chemise and black morocco-backed slipcase. Extremities slightly bumped, contents toned; a near-fine copy. Extremities of clipped jacket frayed with minor tears, slight marks to rear panel, a very good example of a bright jacket. First edition, first printing, presentation copy inscribed by the author "To James Bond from Ian Fleming" on front free endpaper. The first James Bond omnibus to be published, containing Casino Royale (1953), From Russia, With Love (1957) and Dr No (1958). Gilbert notes that of all of omnibus editions this is "likely the most important". This is an exceptionally rare title to find inscribed. Gilbert states "there appear to be very few presentation copies of this title given out by the publisher". The book is accompanied by two typed letters signed, dated 3 January and 15 January 1963. It appears that a person named James Bond sent Fleming a "most imaginative New Year's card" at the beginning of 1963 informing the author of his existence. The author responding by sending Gilt-Edged Bonds as "a small compensation for the amount of ragging you must have suffered due to the adventures of your namesake". Fleming describes the volume as "an American omnibus Bond with an amusing introduction by Paul Gallico" and provided a favourable indication of prospects for the forthcoming year "so far as 1963 is concerned, you will probably be relieved to know that you stay alive!" James Bond appears to have responded by sending Fleming a reciprocal gift for the following letter thanks him for a "tremendously impressive" bottle which would be kept "in the office in case either I or my secretary feel faint with over-work". Fleming then writes "I was not surprised to get a letter from a James Bond as there is one somewhere in the U. K. who applied for Sean Connery's job in Dr. No on the grounds that his name happened to be James Bond. So this fellow is lurking somewhere, and as far as I am concerned he might easily have been you". The letter concludes with additional thanks "for the splendid breath of the Highlands" and we can only assume that the bottle contained whisky. Given that James Bond also had an address in Coatbridge, near Glasgow, it appears he was a Scot, further enhancing the serendipity. This copy is from the significant Ian Fleming collection of Martin Schøyen (b.1940), with his bookplate. Schøyen's private collection of manuscripts, which span all cultures and all time periods, is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind. Item #155969
Gilbert E1. The Schøyen Collection No. 135.