PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

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.

Micky Flanagan and Julek Heller

The title for this blog is one you don’t see everyday, a comedian and a painter although they would probably say they are both artists in their own way.

I don’t often listen to the radio programme ‘Desert Island Discs’ which has been going for 75 years but did catch the end of the episode while waiting for the news where comedian Flanagan chose PAN’s ‘A Dictionary of Philosophy’ as the book he would take. He mentioned he still has it at home so I’ve fired off one of my emails asking if it’s possible to have a photo of him holding it? I’ll let you know if I get a response.This reference has now swollen the ‘PAN as mentioned on radio’ section to all of two clips which can be found HERE.

Back in August I mentioned trying to contact Julek Heller to ask about the original unsigned artwork of a unicorn to check if it was one of his and so I was really pleased to get a message from his daughter Zosia this week and letting me have contact details. We have since communicated and he confirmed that the unicorn was his but unfortunately I had sent him the wrong artwork! There were two, one we knew was his, the other something like it and guess which one I attached? I’ve since sent the other and await a verdict. 

I also asked Julek about some of the titles from PAN with artwork listed as by him to which he replied “There are quite a few images out there attributed to me that I didn’t produce, some good some not ,what can you do? My website is in need of some work which I hope to deal with in the New Year . I Have a few sample covers somewhere in my files which I will try and dig out and scan. I’ll send them on to you if I can find them” I specifically mentioned the PAN ‘Gormenghast Triology’ listed as having artwork by him, which weirdly ties in with the “PAN as heard on radio” in that the only other clip refers to Mervyn Peake, author of the said novel. Julek attached his artwork for the Peake title but this was for Overlook Press in the States from 1988.I have some more scans to add to Julek’s page but I can’t get to the box at the moment, probably in the New Year. I’ll let you know when they go on.

BYO or Bind-Your-Own plus JAWS etc.

I recently rediscovered a packet of bookmarks including those for ‘Bind-Your-Own books’ or how to turn a paperback into an awful hardback, a precursor vaguely reminiscent of those ‘library cases’ for VHS cassette tapes!
I found I’d actually got two, one for PAN and one for Fontana. Unfortunately the PAN one was plain on the back but the Fontana advertised the book ‘Reach for the Sky’ from 1957. I have several unopened packs plus one half used and an advertising flier for Fontana and not PAN. I also found a few American packs online at more than I want to pay but interestingly although they have a US address they were actually made in England. Click HERE to see the page.

I always frown when I see copies of PAN’s that have been put into card covers and then described as ‘rare’ I’m just glad they are ‘rare’ as that means that another copy of what might have been  a  perfectly good book, has not been mutilated. Here is a current example but at least they are being realistic and only asking £1.99

I managed to phone Ken about the ‘JAWS’ cover I saw on eBay and he says it is a PAN but a really early one, before the film came out when they changed the shark to the one on the film posters. PAN was printing run after run of 250,000 at a time and was one of their most successfully titles causing Ralph Vernon-Hunt to say “We’ve been saved by that ****** fish”

I was also contacted by a graphic artist trying to speak to Alan Cracknell to ask if it was possible for him to use some of the artwork Alan painted for the album “El Pea” featuring amongst others Jethro Tull. Alan was happy to speak to him and I await the outcome.

No work on the ‘library’ last week as we went away in the camper for a few days to a town where there was supposed to be two bookshops but sadly no more! It got really wild, wet and windy in the night – and the weather was awful as well! We also had a funeral in North Yorkshire and extended it into a couple of days. Fingers crossed as there is a very empty calendar this week I hope to crack on apace!

Jackie Collins and a JAWS mystery cover.

With the weather being fine I seem to have been spending more time on sorting out our disused railway track than on sorting out my books but when it gets cold at least I can do one of them in the warm and dry. We have dug drainage channels lowering the water which has now exposed the source of it, a cracked cast iron pipe nobody knows anything about (the foot is for scale, I’m not really that bad a photographer!)

While trying to contact Adrian Chesterman about the covers he painted for Jackie Collins titles in the 80’s I came across someone selling this standee for “Hollywood Wives”I couldn’t resist it but not sure where it’s going to go. It has made me try to sort out the other Colliin’s covers I have from this period and I’ll add a page next week.

While looking on eBay as I usually end up doing I saw a cover listed as ‘rare, not see another on net’ etc. and they wanted £35. This of course made me try and find out if this was right and so far I have to agree. The seller lives in Greece and I was wondering if it was an international edition although the scans of the first few pages don’t indicate as such. I’ve email Ken, who was studio manger at PAN at that time and was involved with ‘JAWS’ and as I’ve mentioned before is miffed as he designed the icon text but got no credit.

Finally I’ve Heard from Gordon Young to tell me he is now working on the next instalment of his memoires so watch this space.

Georgette Heyer in the Catalogues + Monsarrat

Still looking through the catalogues I mentioned last week and three of them have full pages for Georgette Heyer titles. I’m including scans of them below. The first one is from December 1966 and lists how many of each title had been sold up to that point. Next to where it says ‘the unknown best-seller’ there is a blank book cover and I’m trying to work out if this is clever or a mistake. It is numbered M150 which was “Cotillion’ In the text it also says “She has millions of fans but none have seen a picture of her” which just shows how far we’ve come with technology as if you search now you get dozens. The second scan is from December 1967 and the third and fourth from January 1968.

A couple of weeks ago I featured 10 covers by Nicholas Monsarrat and was awaiting an eleventh. After two weeks and no sign of it I contacted the seller, one of those warehouse companies, who apologised and said they would send me another copy straight away. I was sure it was going to be the earlier edition but surprisingly not but what they didn’t mention was the sticker on the front

I was quite annoyed until I had a better look and saw it was for another PAN title. I tried my usual methods to remove it, lighter fuel and a hair dryer, but no luck so I’ve had to work on the cover in PaintShop. I’ve included it on the page HERE 

The title “The Red Fox” is in shiny gold lettering and no matter how hard I try my scanner still wants to give me black!

“New PAN Books” November 3rd 1967

I ‘won’ four PAN catalogues on eBay a while ago (thanks for not bidding against me Jules) and now we are in November I’ve got around to looking at them.

What I really hate is looking at the lists of “Special Display Materials such as:

I would love a few of those “Pan Books on Sale Here” stickers to go on the bi-fold doors of my ‘library’ where I am currently(!) rearranging the electrics as the sockets all appear to be in the most inconvenient places i.e. behind bookcases. What I also need are a few of these:

So if anyone out there has any of these bits and pieces they no longer need please let me know ( email ) as I find this material every bit as interesting as the books themselves and talking of books there was a ‘plug’ for the book “Our Mother’s House” reissued to tie in with the 1967 Venice Film Festival where it was British entry (It didn’t win, it was “Belle de Jour” also published by PAN) I’ve been trying to decide if the picture used in the catalogue was the same as the one actually used for the book cover. I’ve added a scan of the book to the catalogue entry and put them side by side.