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007 MAGAZINE Collectors Guide to
James Bond UK PAN Paperbacks

Part One: The Original Face of James Bond

Ian Fleming's James Bond novels were published in hardback in the UK by Jonathan Cape, with the first three books in the series issued with dust jackets designed by the author himself, but executed by Kemsley Newspaper Group’s in-house artist Kenneth Lewis (1926-2013). DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1956) and DR. NO (1958) featured dust jacket illustrations by Patricia Marriott (1920-2002), who also designed the playing card motif on the cover of the 4th edition of CASINO ROYALE which was reprinted in hardback from 1957. Pat Marriott was best known as an illustrator of children's books, and in 1953 had married Michael Howard (1923-1974) who was Ian Fleming's literary advisor and a director (and later Chairman) of publisher Jonathan Cape. FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE (1957) and all remaining Jonathan Cape first editions featured dust jackets with the trompe l'oeil paintings of Richard Chopping (1917-2008).

CASINO ROYALE cover art by Roger Hall based on the face of American actor Richard Conte

ABOVE (left) Published on April 18, 1955 the PAN Books edition of CASINO ROYALE had cover art by Roger Hall and featured the first pictorial representation of the face of James Bond. In his ground-breaking 1982 article The Illustrated James Bond, 007 MAGAZINE Editor and Publisher Graham Rye identified the face was based on American actor Richard Conte [pictured top right]. (bottom right) Artist Roger Hall [left] with four-time James Bond PAN paperback cover artist Sam ‘Peff’ Peffer in 2005.

None of the Jonathan Cape hardback editions of Ian Fleming's novels depicted the character of James Bond himself, and it was not until 1955, when the first paperback edition of CASINO ROYALE was published in the UK, that 007 was given a face. Although James Bond had been played by Barry Nelson (1917-2007) in the 1954 US CBS-TV adaptation of CASINO ROYALE, this version would be unknown to UK readers at the time, and the production was largely forgotten until its rediscovery in the early 1980s. Artist Roger Hall (1914-2006) depicted a blond-haired James Bond whose face appears to be based on American actor Richard Conte (1910-1975). Prior to joining PAN Books, Roger Hall had worked for Eric Pulford Publicity where he was a prolific film poster artist. Eric Pulford (1915-2005) later designed the iconic UK quad-crown poster for From Russia With Love (1963) which was painted by Italian artist Renato Fratini (1932-1973); and also designed the stylish minimalist UK Quad-crown poster for The Ipcress File (1965) - the first of the popular Harry Palmer films produced by Harry Saltzman (1915-1994) based on the novels of Len Deighton. The first paperback printing of 35,000 copies of CASINO ROYALE from PAN Books sold out, with a second edition of 35,000 units issued in August 1955. Ian Fleming received his first 12.5% royalty payment from PAN in September 1955.

MOONRAKER cover art by Josh Kirby, LIVE AND LET DIE & DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER cover art by Rex Archer

Unusually MOONRAKER and not LIVE AND LET DIE was the second James Bond novel published in paperback by PAN Books in 1956. This decision was taken in order to avoid a paperback edition of LIVE AND LET DIE competing with the same title which had recently been released in hardback by The Reprint Society. The cover artist for MOONRAKER was Ronald William “Josh” Kirby (1928-2001) who would later go on to illustrate many of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of books from 1983 until his death. The prolific artist also painted the UK Quad-crown poster for Return of The Jedi (1983). The initial print-run of the MOONRAKER paperback was 50,000 copies which had all sold by the end of 1957. The novel was then out-of-print for a year until the 2nd printing with a new cover by Sam Peffer was published in 1959. The first paperback edition of MOONRAKER is therefore one of the hardest to find nowadays due to its very small print-run. Several titles in the 1969 ‘white-model’ series also had very small print-runs making them equally scarce, with THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN limited to just 30,000 copies.

Raymond Chandler endorsement


Rex Archer (1928-1992) became the third artist to paint James Bond for the cover of Ian Fleming's second novel LIVE AND LET DIE (1954), which was first published in paperback by PAN Books in October 1957. Archer's cover for LIVE AND LET DIE is unusual in that it illustrates an actual scene from the novel and not just a generic representation of the two lead characters. The square-jawed James Bond is shown in profile as he rescues Solitaire following their keel-hauling at the end of the novel. Mr. Big's yacht The Secatur explodes in the background of the shark-infested waters. Rex Archer also provided the cover art for DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, which followed in February 1958.  Although his DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER cover did not feature the face of James Bond, it sold significantly more copies on its paperback release than LIVE AND LET DIE, which had sold out its initial 50,000 print-run and was not reissued until August 1958.

Rex Archer's DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER painting appears to be based on a similar cover published in the USA for the 1957 Perma Books (M-3096) paperback of Widow's Pique by Blair Treynor, which was the masculine pseudonym of Selina Abraham Treynor (1888-1967). The original painting was by James Meese (1917-1971) and sold at auction in the USA for $5,676 in October 2011. Meese had earlier provided the cover art for the first American paperback of LIVE AND LET DIE, also published by Perma Books in June 1956. It was not unusual at this time for different artists’ covers to be repainted and re-used on other editions, but as Widow's Pique was not published in the UK, it is likely that the cover was reproduced in one of the imported American periodicals then available, inspiring Archer to repaint it for DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. Later in his career Rex Archer was a prolific illustrator of children's comics during the 1970s & 1980s. Although PAN's DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER paperback did not feature Ian Fleming's hero on the cover, the character would soon be given a face that would stay with him more-or-less unchanged for the next eight years, in newsprint at least.

CASINO ROYALE Daily Express comic strip panel #1 drawn by John McLusky

The character of James Bond became an integral part of British popular culture at a time when Post-War austerity was coming to an end and the ‘Kitchen Sink/Angry Young Man’ movement was taking the theatrical, cinematic and literary world by storm. Many of the early films that defined the ‘British New Wave’ were made by Woodfall Productions - a company co-founded in 1958 by director Tony Richardson (1928-1991), writer John Osborne (1929-1994) and Canadian producer Harry Saltzman (1915-1994), who would later team up with American Albert R. Broccoli (1909-1996) to make the James Bond films.

On July 7, 1958 the James Bond comic strip made its debut in the Daily Express, with the first story CASINO ROYALE introduced by Ian Fleming's friend American author Raymond Chandler (1888-1959). The first series of the Daily Express comic strip then ran uninterrupted for six days every week until February 10, 1962; serialising all of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels up to THUNDERBALL and three short stories in the same order as their hardback publication. The Daily Express also printed abridged versions of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE and DR. NO in daily instalments in the weeks before the hardback publication. These adaptations were all illustrated by Andrew Robb (1907-1989), and the author's subsequent novels and two short stories continued to appear annually finishing with OCTOPUSSY in 1965.

Photo reference of Dick Orme used on CASINO ROYALE cover.

Photo reference of Dick Orme used by Sam Peffer for the 1958 PAN paperback cover of CASINO ROYALE (GREAT PAN G198).

In December 1958 PAN Books reissued CASINO ROYALE in paperback with a new cover by Samuel John Peffer (1921-2014), who signed his work and was known to his friends as ‘Peff’. CASINO ROYALE became the first James Bond novel to be issued with a second cover, and Sam Peffer would go on to provide the artwork for the reissue of MOONRAKER in 1959, followed by the UK paperback debuts of FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE and DR. NO. For the first time James Bond was given a consistent face on three of Sam Peffer's covers. That face was based on model and actor Dick Orme. Sam Peffer had begun his career painting front-of-house displays for West End Cinemas before moving to Weddell Brothers who produced film publicity materials. When their artist was called up for military service in 1940 Sam Peffer replaced him, painting publicity images of Hollywood film stars. After leaving the Navy in 1946, Peffer became a commercial artist eventually joining the cinema advertising company Pearl & Dean in 1953 to become manager of their art department.

After going freelance in the mid-1950s Sam Peffer then began a long and prolific career creating paperback artwork for many different publishers including PAN Books. When the painted paperback cover fell out of fashion, he returned to illustrating video covers and posters for low-budget exploitation films in the 1970s. One of Sam Peffer's most memorable later commissions was the artwork used on the UK Quad-crown poster for the erotic Sci-Fi movie spoof Flesh Gordon (1974).

CASINO ROYALE &  MOONRAKER Sam Peffer rough paintings

Like many artists, Sam Peffer generally painted his finished artwork based on photographs of stand-ins and models who posed in identical positions to those conceived for his rough paintings shown to the publishers' art buyer for approval (which in the case of PAN Books was Tony Bowen-Davies). Peffer's background in cinema advertising meant that he frequently used Hollywood stars as the basis for his rough paintings. Sam Peffer would later paint the likeness of Bernard Lee (M in 10 James Bond films 1962-1979) on the cover of the film tie-edition of Cone of Silence (GREAT PAN G389); and future Sir James Bond, David Niven, on the cover of Please Don't Eat The Daisies (GREAT PAN G372) both published in 1960.

The new CASINO ROYALE paperback with the Sam Peffer cover was printed four times between December 1958 and September 1960, with a total of 115,000 copies produced. Copies of the two printings with the Roger Hall cover which had been issued twice in 1955 had sold out in early 1957. 40,000 copies of the new Sam Peffer cover were printed in December 1959, with 18,000 of those being exported. The 22,000 copies sold in the UK now had the price point of 2/6, which would also explain the need for a new cover as the two original printings were priced at two-shillings. The new cover sold out within six months and a reprint of 30,000 units were released in April 1960, and a small proportion of those exported to Commonwealth countries.

CASINO ROYALE Sam Peffer reference photographs

CASINO ROYALE cover art by Sam Peffer

ABOVE: (left) A reference photograph of model and actor Dick Orme used as the face of James Bond on the second version of the PAN paperback of CASINO ROYALE. (inset) Sam Peffer's wife Kitty provided the photo reference for the figure of Vesper Lynd (right) Sam Peffer's final painted version of the CASINO ROYALE paperback issued in 1958.

With the PAN paperback of MOONRAKER out of print throughout 1958 a second edition was issued in February 1959 with a new cover by Sam Peffer. Following the approval of his rough painting, Peffer worked from reference photographs of Dick Orme, with his own wife Kitty (1922-2020) standing in for Gala Brand. The year-long unavailability of Ian Fleming's third James Bond novel clearly generated demand in the title, and the initial print run of 35,000 copies sold out very quickly, initiating a second printing of a further 25,000 paperbacks in June 1959, which had also sold out by the end of the year.

MOONRAKER Sam Peffer reference photograph of Dick Orme and Kitty Peffer

MOONRAKER covver art by Sam Peffer

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE PAN paperback advertisement

With MOONRAKER back in print again, PAN Books then published the paperback edition of FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE on April 10, 1959 with a striking cover once again provided by Sam Peffer. The final cover was changed very little from his original rough painting, with the female model representing Tatiana Romanova now wearing a tailored jacket (seen on the model in his reference photographs) instead of the knitted top on the earlier concept. Sam Peffer accurately replicates the facial expressions of Dick Orme and the unidentified female stand-in, with Bond's trademark comma of black hair meticulously recreated. The face of Tatiana is based on one of the reference photos, whilst the face of Dick Orme as James Bond comes from another. It is interesting to note that whilst Sam Peffer and subsequent artists continued to paint James Bond with the comma of black hair, none depicted him with the thin vertical facial scar as described by Ian Fleming in CASINO ROYALE.

Tension & Torture!, Romance & Murder!, Target for Destruction
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE Sam Peffer reference photograph of Dick Orme

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE cover art by Sam Peffer

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE Sam Peffer reference photographs

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE also proved popular with the initial 50,000 copies selling out very quickly, and most of the second printing of 40,000 in September 1959 also sold by the end of the year. A third printing of 25,000 copies were issued to coincide with the February 1960 paperback debut of DR. NO which sported Sam Peffer's fourth cover painting. Once again working from his initial rough painting and reference photo of Bond and Honey (whose face is not seen on the cover), this cover is dominated by a green-hued Doctor No whose face on the final version is based on Mexican actor Rodolfo Acosta (1920-1974).

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE and DR.NO rough paintings be Sam Peffer

The face of James Bond on both his rough painting and final cover of DR. NO appears to be based on Sam Peffer himself. For the cover for the 1958 PAN paperback The Case of the One-Eyed Witness (GREAT PAN G198), Peffer used a photograph of himself as reference. His DR. NO rough painting also shows Bond in the same attire but wearing a watch and holding a gun in his left hand, both of which missing are from the final version. Sam Peffer would often pose wearing jeans and a shirt, and it is possible that the DR. NO cover was based on one of many reference photographs of the artist, and repurposed for the DR. NO cover. In this instance Peffer's rough painting was also directly based on one of the reference photographs of him in this attire, and explains why Bond's face is based on Peffer's own, and not Dick Orme who had featured on the three previous covers.

The Case Of The One-Eyed Witness - Sam Peffer photo reference/DR. NO reference photographs Sam & Kitty Peffer

Sam Peffer would also use his wife Kitty and her brother stuntman Jack Cooper (1923-2010) as the photo reference for his paperback covers. Cooper also doubled for Robert Shaw (1927-1978) in the train fight in From Russia With Love (1963); and would later be seen as one of the gunmen in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), along with Richard Kiel (1939-2014) and stuntman/arranger George Leech (1921-2012). The trio pursue Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in the Lotus Esprit (which was filmed in Sardinia) before being forced off the road by Bond's gadget-laden car. Another model and actor used by Sam Peffer as a stand-in for photo reference was former Ballet dancer David Davenport (1921-1995), who would later have his own James Bond connection when he played (uncredited) the Captain of HMS Tenby in You Only Live Twice (1967). After his ‘death’ in Hong Kong, James Bond's funeral at sea was filmed onboard this ship, which was actually moored near Gibraltar at the time the sequence was shot.

DR. NO reference photograph Sam & Kitty Peffer

DR. NO cover art by Sam Peffer

DR. NO had the largest print-run to date of any James Bond paperback to date, with the original 80,000 copies selling out within a few months, and a second printing of 60,000 issued in August 1960. By the end of 1960 DR. NO alone had sold 115,000 copies and was not surprisingly the biggest-selling James Bond title that year. Overall sales of the six James Bond novels published in paperback by PAN Books continued to rise as each new title was issued, and by the end of 1960 the number sold in Britain had now reached 836,000. The four PAN paperbacks with Sam Peffer cover artwork were reprinted again to meet demand as sales began to increase. As a freelance artist Peffer only ever painted four James Bond covers for PAN being paid £45 for each, but he is often incorrectly credited with many others in the GREAT PAN series. Sam Peffer admitted that he always signed all covers he painted for PAN and Panther Books, but didn't for those created for Digit Books as they were paying much less (£10 per cover) than the £45 he was getting from PAN. To put this into perspective the average weekly wage for a manual worker around the period Sam Peffer was painting the James Bond covers was around £13, so £45 was a not inconsiderable sum for the time. Adjusted for inflation the pre-decimal £45 is now the equivalent of around £1,000.

Rodolfo Acosta (1920-1974)

Rodolfo Acosta (1920-1974)

Actors and models used by PAN Books as photo/reference and stand-ins

ABOVE: (1) Model Dick Orme who was the face of James Bond on three of Sam Peffer's PAN paperback covers photographed in 1967. (2) Photo reference used for the DR. NO paperback with Sam Peffer himself as the stand-in for James Bond. (3) Former ballet dancer turned actor and model David Davenport (1921-1995) was also used as a photo stand-in for PAN paperback covers and later appeared (uncredited) as the Captain of HMS Tenby who oversees James Bond's funeral at sea at the start of You Only Live Twice (1967). (4) Stuntman Jack Cooper (1923-2010) as he appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Cooper was the brother of Sam Peffer's wife Kitty and as a stuntman doubled for Robert Shaw in the train fight in From Russia With Love (1963), and was also used by Sam Peffer and other artists as a stand-in and photo reference on other non-Bond paperback covers.

The Original Face of James Bond CONTINUED


The recent discovery of many of Sam Peffer's original black & white negatives shows how slavishly he recreated the final artwork based on the photo reference. Those used for his four James Bond PAN paperback covers are reproduced here through the generosity of TiKiT.net
Acknowledgements: Jon Gilbert & Edward Milward-Oliver



FACT FILES - James Bond UK Paperbacks