Rare James Bond manuscript with notes from Ian Fleming to fetch £80k at auction
London: A rare manuscript of a James Bond novel featuring Ian Fleming’s handwritten corrections is expected to fetch as much as 80,000 pounds at an auction.
The ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ script features Fleming’s alterations on almost every page and was prepared by his secretary Ulrica Knowles, a real-life Miss Moneypenny, the Telegraph reported.
A first edition of Fleming’s completed novel, with a note from the author to Knowles, is also going under the hammer alongside the manuscript.
The original text includes name changes for some of the key characters in the plot, which tells the story of a diamond smuggling scheme involving American gangsters.
The villain Dolly Kidd was originally called Boofy Gore, after Arthur ‘Boofy’ Gore, who in reality was a close friend of the famed author.
Fleming made the change at the last minute after Gore, rejected the cheeky attempt to use his name for the homosexual henchman of ruthless gang The Spangled Mob.
Another notable alteration made by Fleming was changing the chapter 17 title from “Bond forces the race” to “Thanks for the ride”.
Fleming also felt that more drama was needed for the novel’s horse auction scene.
In his own hand and on the side of the page, he wrote: “A pause, a bang of a hammer, a look of sincere reproach towards the ringside seats where the big money sat,” to heighten the tension.
The 57-year-old manuscript - the fourth Bond novel - includes sweeping changes and deletions of whole passages of the text as well as alterations of single words.
It was typed up by Fleming at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica in early 1955 before the editing process began.
Knowles would then help out with typing and re-typing as Fleming crafted his work into the famous series of best-selling spy novels.
Knowles’ value to the author can be seen in Fleming’s note in the first edition ‘Diamonds are Forever’ book he presented to her. The note reads: “To Rica, Who wrote it. From Ian Fleming.”
The first edition, complete with Fleming’s note to Knowles, is expected to fetch 9,000 pounds at auction. The 265 page manuscript is expected to fetch 80,000 pounds.
The two items go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London next month.