In 1988 and ’89, UK-based publisher Hodder and Stoughton began to publish Ian Fleming’s original James Bond adventures in paperback under their Coronet imprint.
Aiming for a universal look for the series, the cover artwork for each book featured a different coloured background along with a silhouette of 007 and “James Bond” prominently featured in the center. As an added bonus, each book was accompanied by a new preface by author Anthony Burgess entitled The James Bond Novels: An Introduction.
Future printings of the novels followed into the 1990’s when it was soon decided that a cover revamp was needed for the series. With artwork provided by David Scutt, Bill Gregory and Paul Robinson, the new cover artwork focused on a particular element for each book (Moonraker featured the cards from the bridge game, The Spy Who Loved Me has Bond’s punctured car tire and so on…).
One oddity in the series some literary 007 collectors have come across is the fact that two Coronet covers exist for Fleming’s Dr. No. The much more common of the two shows a dangling spider while the other features a woman’s hand brandishing a knife over a blue water background.
It has been determined that this blue knife cover was an unused artwork piece for the series and was mistakenly put forth as the cover for Coronet’s ninth printing (and only the ninth printing) of Dr. No. All covers before and after in this style make use of the original spider cover.
LEFT: Withdrawn ninth printing (knife cover)
RIGHT: Spider cover accompanying all other printings
Some tips for tracking down the Dr. No ninth printing knife cover…
- ISBN: 0-340-41899-0
Note that this ISBN is naturally featured on almost all Coronet Dr. No printings—although some, such as the fifth printing with the spider cover, feature a completely different ISBN (0-340-70343-1)!
- While the spider covers list the illustrator as David Scutt, the knife cover attributes the artwork to Bill Gregory.
- While early printings of Coronet’s Dr. No include the Anthony Burgess introduction, it is not included in the ninth knife cover printing, nor future printings with the spider artwork.
As this line-up of James Bond novels from Coronet is long out-of-print, Bond collectors will want to turn to sites such as eBay and AbeBooks in order to track down this elusive copy of Ian Fleming’s Dr. No.
Keep turning to the CommanderBond.net main page and our Discussion Forums for the most up-to-date literary James Bond coverage on the web.