PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

William Goldman, a signed copy by Alexander Cordell and a puzzle.

While looking at images of PAN books I spotted a copy of “The Princess Bride by William Goldman I’d not see before. I thought this would be easy to get but was surprised at the price someone wanted on AbeBooks.After another search I found this on Amazon ……
…… but in the end I got a copy for the penny plus postage from Amazon. What I always wonder is “Does anyone really buy books at the over the top prices?”

I was pleased to see PAN had included the name of the artist for “The Princess Bride” and it was a familiar one, Brian Sanders. I emailed him and he replied:
“Another blast from the past. Thank you. Yes I certainly remember making the artwork commissioned by Dave Larkin for Princess Bride, although it was in another life, when I lived in the lower reaches of Highgate. The young lady who modelled for me was the daughter of a neighbour. They lived less than fifty yards away. Warren Michel and family were in between; before he made it big time and moved up to Bishop’s Avenue. Forty years on the child princess bride must be in her late 50s”
Click HERE to see this and other Goldman covers from PAN.

I also picked up a signed copy of “Rape of the Fair Country” by Alexander Cordell and then spent the next half hour looking at his signature in other books and I think it could be a genuine one. Click HERE to see it and the original artwork from one of my favourite cover artists, Hans Helweg.

Not PAN but book related. BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has a ‘Puzzle of the Day’ and here’s the one from last Friday which I got wrong – again!
“I have an encyclopaedia of animals on my shelf, which comes in two volumes. On the left is the Aardvark to Lynx volume, and next to it on the right is the volume for Mackerel to Zebra. Each volume is 5cm thick. The covers are 2mm thick. I have bookmarked two pages, Aardvark and Zebra. How far apart would you say the two bookmarks are, to the nearest centimetre?”
Answer next week.

Found them, plus RIP Peter Wyngarde and another ‘As seen on TV’

Not sure our few days away were that restful with the gale force winds and rain but on the plus side it did get to 15 degrees, not bad for this time of year.

I found the books I’d put on one side but I’m still one and possibly two to find to go on the shelves. The title was ‘Tim’ by Colleen McCullough and I’ve got five examples plus one that only seems to be show as ‘Stock photo’ but I suppose it exists? The other is one that I’m sure I have somewhere that I was sent as a review copy when I worked in Special Ed. In my mind it was just a plain yellow cover with the writing in white but after forty years it might just be a figment of my imagination. See the covers HERE

I know it is a bit morbid but I do look at obituaries, hence spotting Peter Mayle on the 18th January but I missed the passing of Peter Wyngarde three days earlier. I think most people will remember him from his role as ‘Jason King’ and PAN published two titles featuring King. They were written by Robert Miall AKA John Burke who received £525 for each of them for the first 40,000 titles. Click HERE to see the covers and contracts.


….. and finally another screen capture for the ‘PAN as seen on TV’ page with a copy of ‘For Your Eyes Only’ appearing on Bargain Hunt where all the latest captures seen to have come from.

PAN Book Week

Sorry there is only one item this week for two reasons. The first being that we are taking advantage of the better weather and having a few days away in our camper (luckily has a great diesel heater in the back) and secondly I’ve put the  different versions of the title that I was going to feature somewhere safe! Hopefully I’ll have found them by next week.

This weeks page is about PAN Book Week which apparently, according to the newspaper article, first started in Birmingham in 1959 which is a bit odd as I have a cutting announcing a PAN Book Week in Falkirk in 1955. I’ve also included cuttings for Aberdeen from 1961 and 1962. Click HERE to see them. I’m currently trying to find what happened to 1960 and did it continue after 1962? Keep reading the blog as I’ll update if anything turns up or please let me know if you have anything to add.

Another Battles Boxed Set, one that got away and RIP Peter Mayle

Having mentioned a couple of boxed sets in the 1968 ‘British Battles Series’ I  seem to have found I have a third namely ‘British Naval Battles of World War Two’
As I can’t find this listed in catalogues so far I’m presuming the four titles in it are the correct ones? They range in date from 1969 to 1973 and interestingly have three different PAN logos between them.

An interesting item appeared on eBay last week but unfortunately was quite a bit above my budget especially up against James Herbert fans. It was a proof copy of ‘Domain’ published by NEL in 1984. It was the letter with it I was particularly interested in having a reference to PAN. It would have been nice to be able to add it to the PAN Horror archives I have but on checking on Herbert’s publications list it looks like nothing came of it or am I wrong?

We lost a Golden PAN Award winner last Thursday namely Peter Mayle who was 78. I can’t find a photo of him with the award but here as a couple of the books he is most famous for. One day I might get around to reading one of the ‘Wicked Willie’ series but it’s not that high on my list.

With a major overhaul of the later titles definitely due this year I’m pondering on how to list them all on the website. I was cataloguing those that still had the yellow rectangular logo on the spine but later ones only got mentioned on the blog. I think I’ll start to list them by author and show all the titles per page instead of a separate one for each title as now. The original ones with PAN’s eclectic numbering will stay the same although I do intend to rescan them all at a much higher resolution than when I first started back in 1999. I also need to sort out the search and make it more selective as it appears to give multiple returns from everywhere when all we need is the location of the cover.

A Scottish feel this week?

I’ve learnt a new word this week namely ‘quair’ which is the Scots word for ‘book’ a variant of the English word ‘quire’ This was because I came across ‘A Scots Quair’ by Lewis Grassic Gibbon published by PAN in 1982 to tie-in with the BBC Scotland production of ‘Cloud Howe’ one of three titles published as an omnibus. In 2016 ‘Sunset Song’ the first title in the trio was voted Scotland’s favourite book of all time!
Click HERE to see the covers, any idea of the artist?

I also came across another couple of books with a Scottish theme, a pair of titles by Lea MacNally. They are shown HERE

The third Scottish sounding item is in fact not Scottish and nothing to do with books. Our campaign to reopen the old railway line between Walsall and Lichfield now has an official name for the greenway. It is the ‘McClean Way’ which sounds Scottish but in fact John Robinson McClean was born in Belfast and was one of those really famous Victorians nobody’s heard of these days. He built and ran the railway back in the 1850’s and also built a pipeline which ran alongside it. Now looking for a printer to print a few hundred way markers so we can officially label it. Waiting for ructions from a few NIMBY’s next week as we are bringing in a digger as the clearing of the drains etc. has got beyond our capabilities!I’m to modest to actually say who designed the logo but I am rather pleased with it!

A new cover and a holiday opportunity with a difference.

Just when I thought I’d got all but the one elusive title (X705) I spotted an earlier version of X305 “The Shoes of the Fisherman’ by Morris West which I didn’t have. Click HERE to see the editions. Now wondering how many others there might be out there that I could have missed and so now feel the urge to check all the different editions with PANs eclectic numbering system. This may take some time!

If you find yourself at a lose end and would like to run your own second-hand bookshop for two weeks it is possible in the Scottish book town of Wigton although apparently there are no vacancies until 2020. This made the BBC News and showed several interior shots of this  and other shops in the town but try as I might I couldn’t spot a PAN anywhere, how remiss of the film crew.

Finally found another title to add to the Piccolo Craft BooksMaking Presents’ from 1977. Looks like all the presents for Christmas 2018 are sorted!

Happy New Year 2018 plus battling on and a what?

I’m starting the year off by realising the blog I was going to do for today, namely a PAN catalogue from January 1968 is a catalogue I’ve already used HERE so I’ve selected another page instead.  Page 2 features the two boxed sets in the “British Battles Series” which I thought I had got. It was only while having a better look that I realised I have one proper set and one not so.

My dilemma now is to decide if I make the one with ‘Corunna’ into the set as it should be? As the slip case appears to be the same for both sets I think this might be acceptable as getting the individual titles is not a problem.Just spotted the very thing for the person who has everything or possibly more money than sense. On eBay at the moment is “A very rare poster showing 400 copies of the book cover of From Russia With Love. Only 200 of these prints were made” Now normally I’m into all things PAN but this is one that I’m not going to bid on as a) it’s a starting bid of £100 and b) I’m going cross eyed trying to make it into something that actually makes sense!

Happy Christmas Everyone

I was really pleased to get seasonal messages from two cover artists I’ve kept in touch with. I try to moderate the number of emails so risk one every six months which seems an acceptable number if I want to keep getting replies!

Thanks to George Sharp and Alan Cracknell for the seasons greetings.

     This has been blog number 315 and looking forward to many more in 2018.

A Couple of Celebrations.

Missed it again, this websites birthday on the 16th so belated greetings for its coming of age – 18 years and still going strong.
Here’s to many more blogs and postings and hopefully comments from anyone reading them.

With Christmas coming up I thought I’d share a piece of seasonal artwork by PAN cover stalwart Glenn Steward I bought off eBay for peanuts, I think it cost me more in postage than I paid for the artwork itself. He painted it as an idea for his personal card for 1995. I like Glenn’s work and have a few examples including the perennial favourite ‘The PAN Book of Card Games’ used for thirty years over several editions. I also have the front and back covers of ‘That Magnificent Air Race’ and the ‘Hanging Hitchcock’ which my wife hates (I really must update a couple of those pages)

Although not that much is know about Steward he was a very keen cyclist and was art editor for ‘The Sporting Cyclist’ with a seasonal issue like this which doesn’t seem to contain any of his artwork so here are a couple of cyclist he painted for a greetings card.
… and finally I went out for a Christmas lunch for members of ‘The Friends of Pelsall Commons’ as my wife and I are ‘Wardens of the Little Commons’ which means we do grand things like litter picks. It was at lunchtime and half a bottle of wine was beginning to take its toll but at least I’m wearing my PAN top as they said wear something red and that was all I could find – honestly!

Some stats, a couple of covers and Julek Heller.

Most of the time I’m not really bothered about statistics for the site but every now and again I go onto my control panel to look for ‘spongers’, those that just link to images on my site so effectively stealing some of my usage allowance which fortunately is supposed to be ‘unlimited’ at this moment. It was while I was there I looked at visitor numbers per month which usually fluctuates between 500 and 1,500 and I’m more than happy with that as it’s shows it’s not just me that  looks at it. So I was very pleasantly surprised to see the statistics for September and October which just shows how a bit of publicity in the right place makes all the difference. Thanks PAN and your 70th anniversary media but it looks like it’s all down hill from now on, roll on the 75th.

As usual we were way too early for a funeral last week so called into a charity shop where they were selling ‘Three books for a pound’ I found a couple I wanted and was happy with them but then get to the counter knowing what they’d say “You can have three you know”, “Yes but I only want these two”, “Are you sure”, “Yes”, “Really”, “YES” It was only later that I looked at them and noticed both covers were by the same artists, Chris Moore, more well know for his S/F covers than ladies legs I would have thought?
Managed to send the right image of the unicorn to Julek Heller and he has replied to say it is one of his but he’d not seen it for a long time and it could do with a clean!

Finally, nothing to do with PAN but our campaign ‘Back The Track’ to open up an old railway line as a Greenway is really taking off and yesterday we were bought Christmas lunch and given a letter by the owners of the track to say we are now officially ‘official’ and can go on it to carry out work to make it accessible to the public. This is something we’ve been doing for a couple of years now but without anything in writing. Considering in 2014 we were told in no uncertain terms to keep off this is a result thanks to new managers at the charity who are 100% behind us.