PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

A bit more from George and getting paid twice?

Following on from my reference to how the painting for “Testament” by George Sharp was turned upside down I also found the same image used by Chatto and Windus for their hardback edition. The gun is again shown in yet another position to the original and George tells me he didn’t get paid for this edition! “First Blood” from 1973 has a cover in a very similar style but George says it is not his and I can’t find a name as yet.

I often wonder if it was the case with other covers that artists didn’t get paid twice especially ones like the Shute series from 1974 by Roger Coleman when they were used in the USA by Ballantine with whom PAN, I think, had a link through Ian and Betty Ballantine (Ian Ballantine was connected with Penguin in the late 40’s but there was a falling out)BiroAnother series where the same covers appeared on the UK and USA editions are titles by Jean Plaidy used by PAN in the 60/70’s and by Putnams in the 70’s. I’ve put a few HERE. I can find no reference to a cover artist for PAN editions so I bought the hardback Putnam edition of ‘Murder Most Royal’ as US publisher usually credit the artist but unfortunately not in this case. Does anyone know who he/she/they might be? The shield above appears on the title page of the PAN Plaidy “Stuart Series” and is by the late PAN cover stalwart Val Biro.

The PAN Book of Card Games by Hubert Phillips

A while ago I was tempted by an item on eBay namely a copy of “The PAN Book of Card Games” from 1960 which appeared to be hollowed out to give a secret compartment. I was wondering if this was an amateur job but quite the reverse. The seller told me her husband was a sales rep for PAN in the 50/60’s and he gave these away as a novelty including two packs of cards. Unfortunately mine didn’t so I’m showing it with a couple of packs of a later date but if anyone does have a contemporary set then I’d love to hear from you. I did wonder if the cards were the ones shown on the back cover of the book but on trying my packs found they were too big. These cards were printed by the Thomas de la Rue printing company in 1957 for their 125th anniversary and the First International Playing Card Week. The designs are by the French tapestry designer Jean Picart le Doux. I see someone is asking $1200 for a couple of packs on so I’d better take more care of mine! I’m hoping to met up with the rep in Chepstow later in the year as he says he has some PAN related photos from his time working for them but he wants to remain anonymous.

The artwork for the book is by Glenn Steward who began working as a book cover artist in 1957 and worked for several firms including Digit Books (1957) and Panther (1958) and then PAN Books producing nearly 150 covers in six years although he continued to work for Pan until at least 1968. According to Simon Marsh-Devine he was still working in 1994 but I can find nothing after this time. As usual if anyone can add any further information I love to hear from you.

I’ve also added another screen capture to the ‘As Seen on TV’ section as the opening credits for the series “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” shows one of the presenters, Philip Serrell, standing in front of a book case with at least three PANs in it. I can definitely identify two X86 “The Intruder”and X434 “YOLT” but not the sixth from the right as it is newer than the others. If you click on the picture below you should be able to see it but it’s not as clear as I would like. My guess is ‘Majipoor Chronicles’ by Robert Silverberg with the Josh Kirby cover from 1983?Put your Money 2

Daphne du Maurier

NamePAN published fourteen fiction and four non-fiction titles by Daphne du Maurier. I have added 33 different covers HERE and I am still trying to track down more images I’ve seen on sites but which were too small to use . I have included a few covers from the net although my usual rule is I have to have the cover to include it but I have ended up with so many duplicates as trying to work out dates/printings/editions etc. is very difficult plus sellers are not always as cooperative as they could be with providing scans. I hope to replace them with scans of my own as I track them down. I’m not 100% sure of the dates of some of the ones on the page so if anyone can help or put a name to the anonymous covers please let me know.

Caroline Binch

A couple of the covers are by Caroline Binch who kindly replied to my email but we think she only did the two as shown although Caroline did other titles for PAN and I’m hoping she’ll let me know what they were. Other familiar names are Gino D’Achille, Roger Coleman and George Sharp.

Russell Mills Updated Plus A Note From George Sharp

RussellHaving mentioned Russell Mills in the last blog I have now managed to track down seven of his PAN tiles and I’ve also included a few of the ones he produced for the PAN Picador imprint. Russell not only does book covers but also album and CD sleeves plus accompanying booklets and promotional material. His latest exhibition ‘Cargo in the Blood’ opens in Halifax on 22 February and runs to 19 April 2015

I was also in contact with George Sharp this week and he emailed me an interesting story concerning the cover for ‘Testament';

“I remember ‘First Blood’ vividly because I thought the book was remarkable. I depicted a moment in the writing when the rifle was being raised into the air as the protagonist – soon to become the hugely famous Rambo  emerges from a hideout in the snow. It was the “Okay let’s go get the f**kers!” moment. So I painted the image to be reproduced like this – upside down. TestamentBut it was not to be. David Larkin, the art director of Pan at the time, liked the work as being an example of how to paint giving the appearance of being very detailed without actually it being painted in a detailed way.”unnamed[2]

“Spotlight On ………..” Series

LanguageSeriesIn 1981 PAN decided to bring out a series of four books titled ‘Spotlight On ….” French, German, Italian and Spanish. The format was that they contained clippings from advertisements, newspapers, cartoons, instruction manuals, books etc. all in the language of that particular title. What makes them a little different was that, although using the same format of  representative everyday items of that country on a coffee table, all the covers are by different artists. The Creative Director at the time was Gary Day-Ellison and he contacted four graduates from the Royal College of Art in London to paint the covers which apparently had to be done in a bit of a rush.

I decided to see if the artists are still at work and managed to contact three of the four namely Russell Mills, Chloe Cheese and Cathie Felstead who all kindly replied (are you out there Gary McCarver?)

Russell painted at least six covers for PAN and I’ve tracked down five so if I can’t find the missing one I’ll put up the others next week.

Birthday Treat

As it was my birthday last Friday and a hotel chain was doing a “too good to miss” offer for the weekend we decided to be tourists in Birmingham even though it is only 10 miles away. The hotel couldn’t have been better placed, right in the city centre and we had a list of things to see with top of the list being the new Library of Birmingham, just a 10 minute walk away. On the way to visit the Sea Life Centre we watched a barge breaking the ice and which coincidently was named “Aquarius” my star sign. Then to the new library followed by a visit to the Willard Wigan amazing miniatures exhibition on the 3rd floor and we were lucky enough to meet him and shake his hand. I didn’t realise he comes from a couple of miles away from where we live. At the library I was really impressed to see that they had kept the Shakespeare Memorial Room from 1882 and rebuilt it in the rotunda on the 9th floor. We finished the day seeing the new exhibition at the museum displaying “The Staffordshire Hoard” where we stayed so long we actually got locked in! Finally had a brush with the law as met up with our daughter, a police officer, who was on duty in the city centre that evening. She looks too small to be driving a large police car but it was a brief meet as a call came in, the blue lights came on ……. and off she went.

The only real second hand book shop in the city centre Readers World (video shows shop eventually) was closed when we got there as we’d left it a bit late but as I’d been there recently I wasn’t too bothered. Back to books proper next week.

Cover Designs


Peter (07/71) and Ian (08/64) Fleming

I’ve often mentioned how unattractive I find some titles as I do judge a book by its cover. It was while sorting the 1974/75 titles in the ‘Grand Strategy’ series I found what an amalgam of different image sources had been used although not altogether unpleasing. I then looked at some of the later reprints and realised it was all down hill from then on. I have picked one title ‘Operation Sea Lion’ by Peter Fleming, Ian’s brother as I’m sure everyone knows, and scanned three versions from 1975, 1984 and 2003 as below. Peter often described himself as “a kind of uncle of James Bond’s”

……………. and in spite of me being determined not to I have added to Barbara Cartland’s covers page making the number now 102!

Just noticed that Rod Tayler died on January 7th and although he appeared in many films I always think of him in Hitchcock’s “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier and the PAN Book cover by George Sharp from 1977.


“So Long and Thanks For All the Fish” Promo Material etc

Peter Tiejten (whom I’ve mentioned before and worked with Ken Hatherley in the Art Studios at PAN in the 70’s) was responsible for book promotions. I have several photos of  bits and pieces used to promote the 4th book in the ‘HHG’ series “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ HH5Peter writes “Douglas Adams always caused the cover and promotion departments loads of problems because of his late delivery of manuscripts. Usually the cover and display material had been completed before Douglas had finished writing the book – which meant anything went. “So long, and thanks for all the fish” called for a stuffed bird in a display case on the front of the brochure (obviously!) and inside, another picture showed the plug having been inserted in a socket; the bird had disappeared from the perch and all that remained were a few feathers! Each display bin was sent out with “a fistful of feathers” along with the books. Douglas was a lovely chap who very kindly signed a copy of “So Long…” for me BEFORE it had been printed. How? He signed a blank dummy book – which I still treasure!!! ”

I’ve put a few more of the photos on this page

Gary Day-Ellison, PAN Design and Art  Director (1977 to 1988) at the time said “Now, this is what I mean by massively late. Sales needed a cover to rack up the orders. I had to deliver the design for the hardback jacket before Douglas produced the book. I made him promise to tell me what he had in mind. On his way out of the Fulham Road offices he stuck his head round my office door to brief me. He said, “It’s called ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’. And left.I sat, lost for words. A few minutes passed and his head re-appeared, “But there are no fish in it.“, he declared – and fled. This left me license to match enigma with enigma. And when the penny eventually dropped, it landed in a pint of Guinness and produced a ‘lenticular print‘. I found one of a walrus that morphed into a dinosaur, originally produced as a give-away for a cereal packet. Douglas Adams wrote in my copy ‘The silliest jacket in the history of history itself'”


Click on walrus to see it morph.

Which Anniversary Year?

I think 2015 should be the year PAN celebrates 70 years but they probably won’t until 2017. PAN was registered as a limited company on the 1st September 1944 and their first title ‘Tales Of The Supernatural’ was published in 1945 hence 70 years this year. For some reason or other PAN decided that ‘Ten Stories’ from 1947 was their first title (well it is numbered 1) but their CEO up to September 2007 Richard Charkin, on his blog, agreed with me. I’m too modest to also mention the several glowing reference he gave to my website such as “Anyone who is the least bit interested in the history of publishing will enjoy Tim’s brilliant ‘First 25 years of Pan Books’ website. In particular, the covers are sensational, the site has scores – all evocative”superA couple of PAN related ‘projects’ I have in hand include a visit to the ‘British Museum’ to actually see the original bronze on which the ‘Golden PAN’ award is modelled now it’s back from it’s world travel’s and not normally on display. The other is updating the pages on the founder of PAN Books, Alan Bott. I have a family photo album that belonged to his son, Simon, (kindly lent to me by his son, Adrian) and I will include a lot of these soon. Here is a sample one of A J Bott with A S Frene(?) in front of a Desoutter Sports Coupe from 1929Alan John BottFinally I have a small pile of 6 Barbara Cartland titles to add to her page which will bring the total shown up to 100, definitely going to stop there!

Happy New Year 2015

Happy hunting for all those elusive titles and I know it’s going to be the year I get that last title on my list X705 – or maybe not.

Just getting ready to hang up this years calendar and to all those who wanted one, sorry they’ve all gone, which is not surprising as there is only ever one. Last year it was a selection of Sam ‘PEFF’ Peffer covers and this year features the Shute covers of George Sharp. Unfortunately PAN did not foresee that I would make a calendar and only published 22 titles which messed up my two covers a month. I’ve had to pad out December with a couple of other examples of George’s work.

Here’s to the next 52 blogs for 2015 which will be another eclectic mix of topics but all vaguely PAN related including, hopefully, something for everyone.

UPDATE Having added a screen shot to the ‘As Seen on TV’ section last week, the first for ages, just like buses another comes along. It’s one for the eagle eyed from the antiques programme ‘Bargain Hunt’