Bond gun sells for £277,250
At a Christies auction on 25 November 2010, the Walther LP53 air pistol held by Sean Connery as James Bond in the photo-shoot used for the main image in the poster and advertising campaign for the 1963 United Artists/Eon film From Russia With Love has sold for a staggering £277,250 (around $430,000), more than 10 times the estimate.
Walther LP53, photo by Bond Lifestyle
Christies describes the lot as "the air pistol, a .177 (4.5mm) Walther 'LP MOD.53' Air Pistol, Serial No. 054159, with 24cm barrel, blackened finish throughout, in original close-fitted Walther case with sight elements is accompanied by a letter concerning the provenance from the original vendor. It states that the image he shot of Connery holding this Walther air pistol was ...used in some way or other to promote every Bond film till You Only Live Twice..; Also included was a corresponding reproduction still of Connery holding this gun."
Lot Notes from Christies: "The original vendor, who was commissioned to shoot the images required for the publicity campaign for the second Bond film From Russia With Love, explains in his accompanying letter that "it was decided that for the main image in the poster and advertising campaign what was required was a strong portrait of Sean Connery as Bond 007, with his Walther pistol" He explains further that when Connery arrived at his studio for the shoot, it was discovered by publicist Tom Carlile that no one had brought the gun needed for the shoot, the synonymous small Walther automatic [Walther PPK]. By chance the photographer practised air pistol target shooting as a hobby and had the gun he used for this purpose, also a Walther, at the studio "it was decided that - without telling Sean or the other representatives of United Artists - we would use my pistol for the pictures and presumed that should anyone have doubts on their seeing the name Walther on the gun, they would be reassured. This was, in fact, the case. In theory...the long barrel of the air-pistol... should have been removed by airbrushing during the designing of the actual poster - in practice... this was never done..."