James Bond 'Skyfall' title revealed: but how did 007 first get his name?
The answer involves Sir Ian Fleming's coffee table, a book on ornithology and a $70,000 US sale...
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Friday 4 November 2011
Skyfall - or "the worst kept secret in London," admitted producers - has now been officially revealed as the title for the upcoming 23rd James Bond '007' movie. The film once again stars Daniel Craig as the agent and will be helmed by American Beauty director Sam Mendes.
The name "Skyfall" has certainly attracted a warmer reception than the title of Bond's previous cinematic outing, 2008's adventure Quantum of Solace. There's a lot in a name, as they say...
But have you ever wondered how James Bond got his name in the first place?
The answer actually involves author Sir Ian Fleming's coffee table, an obscure book on ornithology and the $70,000 sale of a very unique collectible...
This book sold at a Profiles in History sale in 2008 billed as a "First British Edition of You Only Live Twice inscribed by Ian Fleming to the real James Bond!"
Inside read an inscription for the author on front free endpaper: "To the real James Bond from the thief of his identity. Ian Fleming, Feb. 5, 1964, (a great day!)"
While Fleming had no problems with plot twists for his debut 1950s Bond novel Casino Royal, having drawn on his own experiences in the secret service, the author was still without a name for his soon-to-be-famous agent.
To solve his problem, Fleming looked no further than his the coffee table of his home in Jamaica, where he found inspiration in a copy of Birds of the West Indies by American Ornithologist James Bond. An historic character was born.
It wasn't until 1964 that the two authors met in person, when James Bond visited Ian Fleming at the Jamaican house where 007 was born.
Fleming gave Bond a prepublication copy of You Only Live Twice as a memento of his visit, signing it as above. It was the only book ever inscribed for the real-life Bond by Fleming, who died several months after the meeting.
The very same copy of You Only Live Twice (Jonathan Cape, 1964) appeared at Profiles in History's sale and sold for $70,000 - comfortably within its $60,000-80,000 estimate - thanks in part to its dust jacket, which also boosts a book's value, sporting a design by Richard Chopping, and the significant story behind it.
Also significant is that the James Bond franchise today has an established legacy among film and book buffs, but also remains part of contemporary culture.
In other words, 007 will be sure to make some appearances the world's top auctions to coincide with Skyfall's 2012 release.
This also means there are plenty of opportunities out there for collectors to buy items which could go up in value in recent years.
For instance, if you don't have $70,000, we have this autograph signed by Daniel Craig for sale priced at £175 - a perfect gift for a relative's Christmas stocking (pictured above).
Recent and related articles
Alec Guinness Star Wars 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' award nomination appears for sale | 3 November 2011
James Bond magnetic 'Live and Let Die' Rolex watch will be major attraction | 28 October 2011
Guides and analysis
Images: Profiles in History