Friday, March 28, 2008

Bond, James Bond

Great Britain James Bond Stamp
Dr. No

Probably no other character in modern literature is as adventuresome, suave, and smooth-talking, as James Bond. Particularly in movie adaptations, Bond, alias Secret Agent 007, finds intrigue around every corner.

Bond is the creation of British author Ian Fleming. Born in 1908, Fleming grew up in England and became of product of the espionage era in World War II London.

As the second World War was starting to unfold in Europe, Fleming was appointed assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence of the Royal Navy, a position that undoubtedly enhanced his knowledge of espionage. He was directly involved in several aspects of subterfuge and counter-intelligence. Fleming created the 30AU (30 Assault Unit) which trained its members in how to infiltrate enemy territory and gather intelligence, prior to land invasions by armed British forces.

Great Britain James Bond Stamp
From Russia, With Love

Several years after the war, in 1953, Fleming published his first spy novel, Casino Royale, which introduced the world to James Bond, secret agent 007. By the time Fleming died a short eleven years later, in 1964, Fleming, in just 12 novels and 2 short-story compilations, had single-handled created one of the most enduring characters in literature and cinema history. Fleming's Bond was the foundation for how secret agents were depicted in the public eye for years to come. The expansion of Fleming's books to major motion pictures served to further cement the suave, womanizing character that most recognize as a secret agent.

In honor of Fleming's 100th anniversary of his birth, Royal Mail introduced a six-stamp set depicting James Bond novels. The rectangular stamps shows four book covers for one of six Bond novels. The first book cover(leftmost) is the original, while the remaining three are later releases.

The six-stamp series is denominated in three levels -- 1st (for first class mail), 54 pence and 78 pence. Each denomination appears twice in the set.

These stamps seem destined to be collector's items. They are available in several configurations from Great Britain's Royal Mail.

Not only did Ian Fleming created masterful spy novels, he authored one of the most whimsical children's books of the latter 20th century .... Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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