With Valentine’s Day in the offing, it might seem curmudgeonly of me to profile an auction which honors a cad. Visions of cupid firing arrows of love, and James Bond firing back with his Walther PPK, just do not mix. Yet, in the week prior to February 14th, such a sale will be held on, yes, the 007th of February. That is when Ewbank’s Auction in the U.K. will be holding its Bond & Beyond sale.
Iconic Bond memorabilia has been attracting attention for years. For example, the Aston Martin DB5, as featured in Goldfinger, sold in 2010 for $4.6 million. As best as can be told from the reports at the time, it really did include browning machine guns hidden behind the headlights. (I’ve heard many car enthusiasts refer to the firepower under the hood of their cars, but really?)
As for less lethal 007 props, they, too, have found favor in the secondary market. For example, the air pistol which Sean Connery holds in what has been coined “the most famous of all Bond images”, sold at Sotheby’s in 2012 for $195,000. Word has it that everyone arrived at the photo shoot for the 1963 film’s poster and advertizing campaign, only to realize that no one had brought the Walther PPK used in the film. By chance, the photographer just happened to have a Walther with him, albeit just an air pistol, and that played stand-in.
For many of us, Connery is Bond. (Pace, Daniel Craig fans.) Hence, it may come as no surprise that prop weapons associated with actors who subsequently took up the Bond mantle have not fared as well. By way of example, a stunt Walther actually brandished by Pierce Brosnan in the filming of Goldeneye only has a fair market value in the $2,000 range.
This brings to mind a question- where, between $195,000 and $2,000, might a gun associated with a Bond villain fall?
At Ewbank’s, on Thursday, we will have one answer. In their words….
Film fans will remember that the golden gun, the trademark weapon of the world’s premier hitman, Francisco Scaramanga, is disguised as a cigarette case, lighter, pen and cufflink that combine to make the deadly weapon wielded by actor Christopher Lee in the 1974 classic, one of the most popular films of the Bond franchise.
Now Ewbank’s will offer this rare limited edition replica of the gun, autographed by Christopher Lee himself. Complete with replica bullet engraved 007, it comes with a letter of authenticity from the signing with Christopher Lee.
It is expected to bring more than $10,000; not a bad price for a replica pistol.
For those who would prefer to lower their sights, there is no shortage of modestly priced material in the auction. The Bond and Beyond sale has many nifty offerings further down the scale.
In the “Bond” half of the sale, you could choose from the following:
Prop 100 Rupee bank note used in Octopussy: $60-100
For Your Eyes Only poster, (in Japanese): $40-60
You may not walk away from the sale with a DB5, but you could have a Sean Connery autograph with a photo of him leaning on it: est.: $90-130.
Alternatively, in the “Beyond” half of the sale, you could pick up a variety of items associated with other vintage action stars, many of them toys: (No fair ostensibly buying them for a favorite nephew and locking them in your closet.)
John Steed’s sword cane (toy version) from The Avengers: $200-300
The Saint shooting game: $100-150 (One man’s opinion- if only Roger Moore had left The Saint as his sole legacy in this genre….)
Or, what everyone needs, a Man from Uncle Ilya Kuryakin action puppet: $200-300
Do not forget that Bond himself has been known to shop at auction. (In Octopussy, he bids outrageously for a Faberge egg.) A word of advice- if you see Daniel Craig show up in the room during the sale, it might be best to drop out. Bonds do not like to lose.
“You expect me to talk, Goldfinger? No Mr. Bond, I expect you to buy.”
(N.B.- All estimates approximate, as converted from Pounds Sterling.)