Lot 122 / Sale 6837
ian lancaster fleming (1908-64)

Price Realized £55,750
Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

  • £5,000 - £8,000
  • ($7,995 - $12,792)

Sale Information Sale 6837
Modern 1st Editions & Autograph Letters
5 May 1995
London, South Kensington

Lot Description IAN LANCASTER FLEMING (1908-64)
A Royal Quiet De Luxe portable typewriter, circa 1952, with gold-plated body and fittings, four-row keyboard, 11 x 11 x 6in., in composition carrying case, the attached paper tag with printed address: "The Pantechnicon, Heathfield Terrace" and manuscript inscription: "Mrs I. Fleming 4, 23-2-73."

Provenance By direct descent to the Hon. Mrs Fionn Morgan, the writer's stepdaughter (sold with a letter of provenance).

Literature John Pearson. The Life of Ian Fleming, London: Jonathan Cape, 1966, Chapter 16 "The Golden Typewriter."

Lot Notes Ian Fleming commissioned this typewriter from the Royal Typewriter Company in New York in the spring of 1952, as a replacement for his old Imperial. The first draft of the novel Casino Royale, introducing 007 agent James Bond, had been read enthusiastically by Fleming's publishers Jonathan Cape. However they commented that "although the details were original and interesting ... the book, though publishable, needed extensive revision." For this revision, Fleming had chosen a symbol to remind himself where, with luck, his future lay. This was a new typewriter to replace his old Imperial, a golden typewriter. He had ordered it in New York and on May 17th, some weeks before submitting the manuscript to his publisher, he wrote to a his friend Ivar Bryce in New York asking him to bring the typewriter over on his next trip to England: "Here is one vital request. I am having constructed for me by the Royal Typewriter Company a golden typewriter which is to cost $174. I will not tell you why I am acquiring this machine." The gold-plated typewriter duly arrived and Fleming completed the revised manuscript which was accepted by Jonathan Cape for publication the following April. Fleming typed all his subsequent novels on this gleaming but compact machine that seems to encapsulate the half-fantasy world of ostentatious 1950's gadgetry so familiar from the Bond novels themselves.

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