A rare signed presentation copy of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale (1953) is offered at Sotheby's on July 12.
The book is made out to an old friend, the writer and publisher Ralph Arnold, with the inscription: "To Ralph. We have now both reduced our remainders by one copy!"
Arnold has written a brief explanation of the joke underneath: "I having told Ian, from the depths of my publishing experience, that he would be lucky if he made £200 out of this, his first thriller!! R.A."
Presumably, you had to be there.
Casino Royal was the book that launched the James Bond publishing phenomenon.
It was printed in an initial run of less than 5,000 copies that sold out almost immediately. The rest is history.
The book is offered in good condition, with its original dust jacket.
It's valued at around £40,000-50,000 ($57,768-72,210).
A copy of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest inscribed to a Frederick York Powell is expected to make £20,000-30,000 ($28,884-43,326).
Wilde signs it: "York Powell: with the compliments of the author."
Powell was a well-known historian and scholar.
He was one of very few people to sign a letter appealing for leniency regarding Wilde's imprisonment for homosexuality.
A copy of the book Wilde sent to a prison warden who treated him kindly made £55,000 ($93,266) at auction last year.
Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about book and manuscript auctions.