PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

Updates Today

Having been away in Croatian for the last two weeks I’m glad to see the schedules I set up to publish the blogs each Monday while away seems to have worked.

There are five pages which have been updated this morning from books that came during that time;

1) I have scanned another couple of Carbara Cartland covers which currently stands at 42 out of 125 and I will add more as I come across them.

2) I have managed to find a PAN copy of the Frank Yerby title “The Treasure of Pleasant Valley” and have added that to the page of other Yerby covers.

3) Back in 2102 I visited the building that was once used as a despatch centre by PAN. David the owner said they were going to have it clad in aluminium so I’m grateful to my agent Martin in West Molesey for taking a photo that I’ve now added to the page. Improvement?

4) While looking for information of Val Biro I came across this in ‘The Telegraph’: “There was great rejoicing some months ago when it emerged that House of Stratus was to republish the complete set of Anthony Buckeridge’s Jennings novels. The first batch of three, though, hasn’t met with the author’s complete approval. Specifically, he hates the covers. “Jennings looks fat and shapeless, like a little gargoyle,” he says. “They completely missed the essence of what 11-year-old boys are like.” Buckeridge would have preferred to see the new books illustrated by Val Biro, the Hungarian-born illustrator who worked on the original books. “It came down to money,” he says, “and Stratus ended up using an in-house illustrator.” Even though it’s not PAN I’ve added an example of a Val Biro Jennings cover to his page

5) Not PAN but Panther. I spotted a scrawl on the bottom of a Panther title on eBay which I thought look like the top of the name Derek A Stowe. I then found another copy on an Australian booksellers site (which would have cost me 12 times what I paid with the postage they were asking) with a photo which confirmed it was a Stowe. This just shows how carefully you have to look at covers to find signatures as they were often removed in the trimming process.

“Bamboo, Rice and Seaweed” Panther 778 1958

Ralph Holmes Vernon-Hunt 2

HuntRalph Holmes Vernon-Hunt was the nephew of Alan Bott, founder of PAN Books. Born on the 23rd May 1923 he was educated at Malvern College and later served in the RAF where he was awarded a DFC. As mentioned in the last blog he worked at Hudson’s bookshop in Birmingham immediately after the war where he learnt all about the book trade (Coincidently I’ll be passing where it was this morning returning hire suits – see tailpiece!) On the 27th April 1946 Vernon-Hunt married Elizabeth Mary Harris at Northwich.

It was in 1947 that he became Sales Director at PAN where he remained until 1962. Whilst at PAN he was responsible for bestsellers like ‘The Dambusters’, ‘Enemy Coast Ahead’ and ‘Peyton Place’ The most successful titles were Fleming’s James Bond novels. In ‘The Times’ obituary it states;

“Vernon-Hunt himself (at his own instigation, it is believed) was the first visual interpretation of Mr Bond, when his face appeared on the front cover of the first of the Fleming yarns”

This is patently wrong as the ‘Casino Royale’ JB from 1955 was supposed to be based on Richard Conte, ditto Dick Orme from 1959 and Sam Peffer modelled Bond on himself for the 1957 ‘Live And Let Die’ so Vernon-Hunt was certainly not the first.

In 1962 he left PAN to join the newly established publisher Paul Hamlyn as Sales Director but returned to PAN in 1969 as Managing Director. In 1980 he became Deputy Chairman of PAN but retired two years later due to ill health. He died on 10th November 1987 and was survived by his wife and six children.

“He was a charming man with a driving personality which together with a charismatic and buccaneering style of salesmanship made the name of Pan books famous all over the world”

To see a copy of Ralph Venn-Hunt’s will click HERE

The film ‘Goldfinger’ premiered in London 50 years ago on September 17th 1964 so I’m using that as an excuse to include the cover featuring Vernon-Hunt as JB. Coincidently Vernon-Hunt’s uncle, Alan Bott, founder of PAN Books died suddenly on the 17th September 1952 aged 58.GoldfingerNot PAN but can’t pass without saying congratulations to our daughter Katherine and partner Stuart. It was a really lovely wedding last Saturday. All the best for a very long and happy future together.

Alun Hood?

Having just picked up a copy of the 1978 title ‘Nature On Your Side’ describing how to use natural remedies to get rid of pests I looked on the back and saw the cover was by Alun Hood. The name was vaguely familiar and I have tracked down another two covers he did for PAN. He also did numerous covers for other publishers in the 70’s and 80’s

The one thing I can’t find is any information about him. Can anyone help?

I recently had a comment posted by Gareth Powell regarding Ralph Vernon-Hunt who I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog. Gareth knew Ralph and wrote “Ah yes, I remember him well. I first met him in 1956 when I was working with Smith Trade News. He was a total charmer. He introduced me to Paul Hamlyn and treated me as if we were equals. We were nothing of the sort. I was then a trade journalist but it mattered not. I have always had a soft spot for Ralph Vernon Hunt and remember meeting him for the last time in, of all places Mumbai which was Bombay then” I have since tracked down his obituary  and will have more on him next week but as a taster I was interested to see he worked in Hudson’s Bookshop in Birmingham. This was a proper bookshop and when I was aspiring to be a teacher(!) it was the place you went to for all your text books.Hudsons

(William) Francis Marshall (1901 to 1980)

Francis Marshall studied at Slade College of Fine Art, London before entering the world of advertising illustration. In 1928 he began a 10-year relationship with Condé Nast, drawing for ‘Vogue’ In 1959 he wrote a successful book on drawing entitled ‘Magazine Illustration’ plus many other, a selection of which are shown below.

He also painted numerous covers for romantic fiction especially the Barbara Cartland titles for PAN. He also produced Cartland covers for Bantam, Corgi and NEL amongst others. I have compiled a list of list of Cartland fiction titles published by PAN and make it 129 a few of which are illustrated HERE I’m wondering if I have the will power and the stamina to try and find them all!

As I mentioned last week all the Barbara Cartland titles appear to be being reissued as part of the ‘Eternal’ collection (previously published) or the ‘Pink’ collection (unpublished) and are reusing artwork from other publishers from around the 70’s . The two examples below are both using Francis Marshall artwork from PAN. ‘The Horizons of Love’ has now become ‘A Golden Lie’

Nearly missed my favourite book sale of the year in Lichfield last Friday. I thought it was cancelled as couldn’t find it advertised but they have changed it from June to August. Thanks to an eagle eyed friend who just happened to be walking past the hall last week and saw a poster. I seem to have ended up with a very eclectic mix (my wife added a few) but to fill a bag for a couple of pounds is too good to miss.

I bought the James Herriot title ‘Vet in Harness’ as I spent the day in London yesterday visiting the cover artist George Sharp and wanted some of his work to take to be signed. More on this in a couple of weeks.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – JAWS 2

After mentioning ‘JAWS’ last week I was surprised to see that ‘Radio Times’ had this week coincidently also mentioned ‘JAWS’ in that Andrew Collins thought the sound track was one of the best ever (illustrated using the Roger Kastel artwork)JawsThis lead on to other coincidences in that while looking for shark pictures I found one by (William) Francis Marshall who was also the artist for a vast number of covers for the PAN Barbara Cartland series painted around the mid 70’s.

Some of those covers have resurfaced, along with ones from Corgi, Bantam, NEL etc. in the Barbara Cartland Eternal Collection and the Barbara Cartland Pink Collection.

To be continued next week.

JAWS – 40 Years On

Tried to attempt the annual ‘throw out’ and failed due to always finding something that causes a distraction. This time it was a large pile of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books we have acquired over the years from friends and relatives who would otherwise have put them in a bin. I picked one up and was immediately hooked by the fact the artwork for one story was by Brian Sanders, a popular PAN book cover artist as  featured on the website. Investigating further I found George Sharp, Roger Coleman, Michael Johnson and Alan Lee. My wife spotted a mention of ‘JAWS 2’ being shortly published by PAN that made me start looking at other covers and who painted them. I can’t find a name for ‘JAWS’ but the Roger Kastel movie poster was used for later editions as was the Lou Feck poster for ‘JAWS 2’  Ken Hatherley, studio manager at PAN in the 70’s still doesn’t get the credit for the iconic JAWS teeth he designed!JawsteethWe went to see ‘JAWS’ at the cinema the day it came out, queuing for ages and then being the last ones allowed in. No seats left so we had to stand at the back but how we all jumped when that face appeared at the boat window ……..!

One seller currently has three 1st edition 2nd printing copies of ‘Casino Royale’ on eBay UK at the moment, plus a very poor copy of ‘Moonraker’, I shall be watching!

UPDATE Really tatty ‘Moonraker’ £71 (20 bids) Another on at the moment at £16 (11 bids) The three copies of ‘Casino Royale’ went for £24 (14 bids) £27.10 (27 bids) and £33.54 (25 bids) so looks like the bottom may have fallen out of the market for ‘Casino Royale’ if not for ‘Moonraker’ at the moment.

Not so much PAN – more Buku Roket

Having come across Greek James Bond titles with a distinctive PAN flavour I have now found a site showing nearly a dozen Indonesian variations on PAN Ian Fleming covers. They are on a blog by Tokohitam called Black Chamber plus I found a few more on other sites. I’ve put them together below as a slide show. If anyone has any spare copies I’d certainly be interested.

I used Google translate on the titles and got some very strange (and amusing) results. I also noticed that a John Creasey had become a Bond (OHMSS) as below and I have to admit I do quite like ‘Thrilling Cities 2’ in red.Gun

Printing the ‘Invisible Ink Puzzle Books’

As I mentioned last month my wife and I were made very welcome at Henry Ling Printers in Dorchester when I approached them about their involvement in printing the ‘Invisible Ink Puzzle Books’ under the Piccolo imprint in the 1980’s. Click on the photo below to see how we got on.

HL100The delay in this blog was while I tried to find something on the other uses of invisible ink that got mentioned but all came to a dead end so if anyone out there can help ………….?

The French Connection

I had an email recently asking about the anomaly in the book dimensions of the early titles . Most of the smaller ones tend to be printed in France and it’s probably to do with the difference in imperial and metric paper sizes. I thought the only reason that these were printed in Paris was to get around the paper shortage after WW2 and that it stopped around 1950. After mentioning ‘Moonraker’ recently I noticed this was printed by Le Livre Universel as late as 1956. On searching around for more details about Le Livre Universel I found this extract from an article which I think seems to pull everything together.


Robert Gustave Mouzillat Born Suresne 1913 Died Paris 2010

RobertHe was founder of La Stereochromie which traded as RoMo, a stereoscopic image company. In 1947 he became a director and participated in the development of publishing company Pan Books. With the support of the board of Pan Books he developed a means of exploiting a new printing technique, combining text with images. This took him into the use of the photographic process in printing. He later formed a company, of which he was the sole owner, to conceive and develop a camera to produce precision three-dimensional photographic images, identical to those recorded by the human eye. The camera, which has itself not been overtaken by modern technology, produced colour positive images.

Alan Bott
said of his appointment to the board of Pan Books “…the reason why I nominated you as a Pan Books Director is that you had provided excellent (not to say brilliant) service for us in Paris and that,in my opinion, it was a good thing for you to have the status of Director in dealing with officials and with the Heads of the production houses who do work for us.” Simultaneous with this appointment he created two separate companies in Paris in publishing, Les Editions Albatross and Le Livre Universel.


Liz(zie) Sanders née Moyes

Image1Liz Moyes joined Artist Partners in 1972 where she met and later went on to marry Brian Sanders, also a member of Artist Partners. She then began to work under her married name. We know Brian did many covers for PAN book covers (Liz modelled for the cover of Steinbeck’s ‘Burning Bright’) but I didn’t know she had done PAN book covers herself until just recently when I came across the ‘Wax Fruit Trilogy’ by Guy McCrone and Liz Moyes is credited with painting the covers. A piece of artwork by Liz is probably more famous worldwide, but her name is not on it, and that is the packaging for ‘Yorkshire Tea’
Yorkshire Tea