Sotheby's celebrates sixty years of James Bond with Bond On Bond Street Auction

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Sotheby's celebrates sixty years of James Bond with Bond On Bond Street Auction
Poster Advertising the first Bond Film Dr. No. Est. £20,000 £30,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- This autumn Sotheby’s will present James Bond on Bond Street, an auction of over 100 items relating to Ian Fleming’s enduring creation, from a complete set of first edition books, rare posters including the first-ever James Bond poster from 1962 to a limited edition signed gold-plated replica Golden Gun and a limited edition Bollinger champagne set. Marking 60 years since the premiere of the first Bond film Dr. No, the sale will herald the early years of Bond at his most classic, focusing on the era of Sean Connery and Roger Moore and bringing together a unique assemblage of ‘Bondiana’ for old and new collectors alike. Fittingly, the items will be exhibited in a highlights exhibition at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries from 1st- 6th September as well as offered for bidding online.

Sotheby’s connection to the James Bond dynasty dates back to Fleming’s short story ‘The property of a lady’ that includes a thrilling auction sequence of a Fabergé egg, set in the Main Sale Room, which was brought to life in the 1983 film Octopussy, filmed at the New Bond Street premises.

Among the sale’s highlights are a British poster advertising the 1962 film Dr. No, estimated between £20,000 and £30,000. The original James Bond film starred Sean Connery and Ursula Andress and was directed by Terence Young. Although made on a low budget, Dr. No established many themes that are still synonymous with Bond films today.

Other Dr. No items include a rare transparency featuring the iconic image of the original Bond girl Ursula Andress on a beach holding a conch shell (est. £800- £1,200). Such transparencies were specially produced by the studio to send to newspapers and magazines that required high quality colour images, as opposed to the usual black and white photographs of the time.

James Bond enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to bid on a limited edition replica of the gun from The Man with the Golden Gun, one of the most memorable props of the Bond films that was carried by villain Francisco Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee. Made up of 18 carat gold plated components consisting of a fountain pen, lighter, cigarette case and inscribed 007 bullet, the replica gun’s display case is signed by both Lee and Sir Roger Moore and the piece is numbered 007/400, the ultimate edition number for any Bond collector (est. £6,000 - £9,000). A poster of the same film bearing Sir Roger Moore’s signature is estimated at £3,000 - £5,000, having belonged to a gentleman who worked from Pinewood Studios at the same time as Moore.

In addition to film memorabilia a selection of Terry O’Neill’s behind the scenes photographs from film sets will be offered, including of Sean Connery filming Diamonds Are Forever in Las Vegas, as James Bond in the bath (below, est. £5,000 – £7,000) and at a dinner table dressed in his iconic white suit (est. £4,000 – £6,000). Sean Connery, who starred in seven Bond films, also features in a rare transparency showing a unique image from the film Goldfinger (est. £3,000 - £5,000), without a doubt one of the most popular films in the Bond series. In addition to the transparency, various film stills and backstage photographs of Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe and Harold Sakata from Goldfinger will also be up for auction as well as autographed portraits of Connery.

The hugely successful Bond film series, the longest continually running of all time, owes its inception to the James Bond novels of Ian Fleming, the British writer, journalist and naval intelligence officer. Rare and important books included in the sale provide an insight into Fleming’s creative process, literary influences, and inner circle of friends. A first edition presentation copy from 1956 of Diamonds Are Forever (est. £20,000-£25,000) in a dust jacket is inscribed to Fleming's close friend John Hayward, ‘For John & his blue pencil. From Ian’. The allusion to the blue pencil is a reference to Hayward’s work as an editor and proof-reader; he read each Bond novel in manuscript, and true to form in this copy Hayward has identified and marked up textual errors. Hayward famously shared a flat for over a decade with the poet T.S Eliot, gathering and archiving his papers.

Also available in the sale is a first edition presentation copy of Thunderball by Fleming, (above) est. £10,000-£15,000), which is inscribed to Sir Charles Denis Hamilton who was the editor of The Sunday Times between 1961 and 1967 and a close friend of the writer, having met after Fleming worked for the newspaper after the war. Affectionately known as ‘C.D.’ to Fleming, Hamilton was the one that first urged Fleming to write novels.

A first edition presentation copy of You Only Live Twice by Fleming inscribed to Robert Harling is also set to go under the hammer, estimated at £10,000 - £15,000. Known for creating the iconic Tea Chest font used on all of Richard Chopping’s dust-jackets for the Bond books, and more importantly for possibly being the model upon which Fleming based the character of James Bond, Robert Harling was a close friend of Ian’s for over 25 years following their service together in naval intelligence in the Second World War. Other highlights of books to be offered include first editions of Casino Royale (est. £8,000- £12,000), Live and Let Die (£6,000-£8,000) and Moonraker (£2,400- £3,200) each in the original dust jacket.

Finally, a unique crystal set relating to the 2015 Bond film Spectre will be offered, estimated at £2,000 - £3,000. Designed by Eric Berthés of Saint Louis, the oldest crystal manufacturer in Europe, it includes a premium limited edition 1988 magnum of Bollinger R.D. encased in a unique crystal ice artwork. Its base replicates 007's distinctive rifle barrel, capped off with a cabochon displaying the octopus's sign, the SPECTRE. Only 307 of the sets were created by Saint Louis to mark the release of the film, with each individually numbered.

Bond on Bond Street takes place during Sotheby’s September Luxury Week, a specialist edit of the best watches, jewels, handbags, film posters, wine and spirits for this shopping season. The sale series juxtaposes modernity with tradition, showcasing the season’s best luxury items through a fresh lens. In a series of live and online sales, the exhibition will be tailored to the increasing trend of cross-collecting in these categories, and will have an exciting event where collectors can come together at Sotheby’s New Bond Street to view luxury items of the highest calibre.

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