By a spooky but sheer coincidence, this image number is 007. I swear it's true!How better to mark my 500th post than with my gold-plated Royal Quiet DeLuxe portable typewriter? I call it the “Goldfinger” typewriter.
As many will know, just such a gold-plated Royal portable was the typewriter of choice of English author Ian Fleming, who had a fascination with things gold.
Fleming’s typewriter was used by him at his 14-acre Goldeneye estate at Oracabessa, St Mary, in north Jamaica, to create James Bond, Secret Agent 007, starting with the novel Casino Royale (1953). Fleming wrote Goldfinger on the Royal in 1959, and included a gold typewriter in that book.
Fleming paid $US174 for his gold-plated Royal, which he received in the West Indies on January 15, 1952. It was a special issue to mark Royal’s 50th anniversary, its Golden Jubilee. It is an adaption of the 1945 re-design by the great Henry Dreyfuss.
While Fleming took Bond’s name from an American ornithologist, an expert on Caribbean birds, Bond was in large part based on one of Fleming’s old friends and secret service colleagues, a real-life secret agent in Sir Peter Henry Berry Otway Smithers (born Moor Allerton, Yorkshire, England, December 9,1913; died Vico Morcote, Ticino, Switzerland, June 8, 2006, aged 92).
In 1943 Smithers was a British naval attaché in Mexico, tracking German U-Boat movements. He married, after a three-week courtship, Dojean Lane-Sayman, of St Louis, a divorced American heiress of part-Mexican ancestry who owned a gold typewriter. This is the machine which made a cameo appearance in Goldfinger.
My gold-plated Royal typewriter was originally owned by Dr Carl Richard Wedler, of St Clair Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, and was kept at his home at 4504 Superior Avenue, East Side Cleveland.
Dr Wedler was a leading member of the Germania Turverein Vorwaerts, a gymnastics movement affiliated to the American Turners, and had a fondness for Antonio Y Cleopatra cigars, made in Cayey, Puerto Rico, of Cuban-seed tobacco.
His grandson is Richard Wedler, the noted woodworker (he makes custom cabinets and furniture), inventor (founder of Micro Fence) and musician, who now lives in Southern California.
Before Richard turned to woodworking as a career, he toured the US opening concerts for such well known acts as Judy Collins (Amazing Grace), the legendary Josh White (House of the Rising Sun arranger) and Tom Rush (No Regrets)
On May 5, 1995, Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, who played Bond, paid £56,250 after fierce bidding at an auction at Christie’s South Kensington rooms in London, for Fleming’s gold—plated Royal.
Until Cormac McCarthy’s Olivetti Lettera 32 fetched more than $200,000 in December 2009, Fleming’s Royal was the most expensive typewriter ever sold.
At another action at Christie’s of London, on November 1, 2006, a number of Fleming’s letters were sold, including one to his typist, Margaret Anderson, jokingly describing the gold-plated typewriter as a "beastly machine".