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James Bond 007: Licensed To Make Collectors Of Us

By Christopher Proudlove ©

Bond-5I grew up with James Bond. I read all Ian Fleming’s novels, I’ve seen all the Bond films. I even wear an Omega Seamaster wristwatch like my hero. Last week, in a Christie’s charity auction in conjunction with UK Bond film makers EON Productions, the watch worn by Daniel Craig in the new blockbuster Skyfall sold for a cool £157,250.

Out of most people’s reach, granted, but it was very special: a unique automatic Omega Seamaster Professional “Planet Ocean” watch made in titanium specially for the action scenes, sold to benefit ORBIS, the charity fighting blindness worldwide.

But even that paled alongside the star lot: the Aston Martin DBS used by Craig in Quantum Of Solace and sold to benefit

Barnardo’s. A bidding war between the internet, telephones and those in the saleroom saw the price spiral to £241,250.

Even Craig’s swimming trunks caused a splash. Sold fittingly to benefit Women For Women International, which helps victims of war and conflicts, the skimpy outfit worn by the Chester-born star in the beach scene in Casino Royale sold for £44,450.

The glittering evening auction, held last Friday – Global James Bond Day – was one of a number of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr No, the first Bond film starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress. Since then Bond has appeared in 22 films, with Skyfall due to premiere on October 26.

But you don’t have to be a high roller to collect Bondiana, there are plenty of opportunities at all price levels.

Timed to coincide with the anniversary was a veritable doorstop of a book by cinema production designer Dennis Gassner charting 50 years of James Bond movie posters. Every single one is a collectors’ item worth serious money. Gassner’s exhaustive book, published by Dorling Kindersley and priced £35 is set to become one.

Working chronologically, the book sets out to chart the creative development of the posters published around the world in a myriad languages, each one illustrated in full colour, many occupying spreads or full pages in the oversize book, heavy enough to make a coffee table groan under its weight.

Bond-6Of course, if funds will stretch to it, there are still plenty of original posters available, with more to follow as the Bond franchise continues. Quadbod media memorabilia had the two illustrated among their stock, the rare single-sheet for A View To A Kill (1985) starring Roger Moore and Grace Jones being priced at an affordable £500.

According to Gassner, the poster, with artwork by Brian Bysouth, was withdrawn because it was felt Bond did not look sufficiently commanding in a white tuxedo. The poster measures 41 by 27 inches.

In contrast, Sean Connery – everyone’s favourite 007 – wears a suitably inscrutable expression while being attended by bikini-clad Eurasian beauties in the large quad poster for You Only Live Twice (1967). Measuring 30 by 40 inches, examples can be picked up for around £1,000-2,000 depending on condition.

What price a poster from Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film, I wonder? Gassner’s final illustration shows a 30 by 40 inch used for international advance publicity. The mostly black teaser shows Daniel Craig’s Bond walking along a tunnel which also doubles as the traditional Bond gun barrel logo. Try begging one from your local cinema!

If wall space is an issue, first editions of Fleming’s books are another route to collecting penury. Take Casino Royale, for example. This was the first appearance by James Bond in print and the story was considered by the publishers to be too lightweight to gamble on a long print run.

Today a comparative rarity, a first edition, first printing of this first novel in good condition and with dust jacket would set you back something in the region of £15,000-£20,000. Later impressions from the first edition are around £1,000, but without dust jacket or in poor condition, the value falls to about £100.

*Pictures courtesy of Quadbod

Tags: Auctions · Collecting · James Bond · Movie posters · Watches

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