Saturday 24 February 2018

Bond author's military jacket under the hammer

The jacket Fleming wore as a serving officer
The jacket Fleming wore as a serving officer

Ian Fleming's naval jacket, which he wore as a serving officer when the character of James Bond was first forming in his mind, is to be sold at auction today.

The double-breasted jacket, which is navy blue with a red lining, has an estimated sale price of between £5,000 and £7,000.

It comes with the accreditation card of John F.C. Bryce as a foreign correspondent on the North American Newspaper Alliance, which is signed by Fleming in his capacity as European vice-president.

The coat was worn by Fleming during the Dieppe Raid of 1942 when he was in the Naval Intelligence Division.

He gave it as a gift to his friend Ivar Bryce, who he had known from his schooldays at Eton.

He also dedicated Diamonds Are Forever to Bryce and borrowed his middle name, Felix, for James Bond's best friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter.

The coat was passed on to Bryce's niece, Janet, who married David Mountbatten, the third Marquess of Milford Haven.

His great nephew, Lord Ivar Mountbatten, who inherited the jacket, will be selling it at the Bonhams books, maps, manuscripts and historical photographs sale in London.

Lord Mountbatten said he did not know when Fleming gave it to Bryce, and that he did not think it had been washed since it was worn by the author.

He said: "All I remember was my uncle saying that it used to hang up in the cloak cupboard and he always used to say 'be careful' about it. And that was always since I was a child."

In later years Fleming admitted how his own experiences as a commander during the Second World War influenced the development of his most famous creation.

Other Fleming items in the sale include a first edition of the first Bond novel, Casino Royale estimated at £6,000-£8,000.

Press Association

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