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Bennett Winch SC Holdall

James Bond Walther PPK withdrawn from auction

29 November, 2018

The auction of a Walther PPK claimed to be the first PPK in a Bond film has been cancelled by the auction house Humbert & Ellis.

News about auction of the PPK was reported by BBC and picked up by other websites including Bond Lifestyle, but quickly garnered scepticism from Bond fans about the provenance of the gun.

Walther PPK auction Humbert Ellis prop James Bond Dr No

A statement by Humbert & Ellis on their website reads:

“Lot 441 the ‘Bond Gun’ has regretfully been withdrawn from sale. Accordingly it will not feature in our forthcoming auction of December 6th”

The PPK on offer came with a signed letter from Bernard Lee, dated 1974, which supposedly explained how the gun ended up in the film.

"Dear Jane, I know you will not accept anything in return for all your help and the kindness that you and John have shown to me throughout these trying times but my conscience will not let it go unrewarded. Enclosed is a small token of my gratitude that I would like your boy to have as and when you see fit. This Walther pistol numbered 149894 is a small piece of 007 history. As you are aware I have played the part of M in several of the James Bond films. The first of these, Doctor No contained a scene in which Sean was scolded by myself about his choice of firearm. His Beretta pistol was replaced by a Walther pistol. On the day of the take the pistol that was to be used was not going to be available, so I took into the studio and used for the scene this pistol which I have had for many years. (It was fully functional at the time, I have since removed the firing pin). This pistol is there for the first one ever to appear in a James Bond film. Yours very sincerely, John Bernard Lee"

Bernard Lee played the role of M in 11 Bond films, from Dr. No. (1962) to Moonraker (1979).

The auction websites stated that the Walther PPK was the personal property of Bernard Lee (who played M) and was gifted to the vendor (referred to as 'your boy' in above letter). The auction website claimed that according to EON Productions - the 'call list' for this scene (list of props required for filming) included 'a gun' however, said gun was not available at the time of filming, so Bernard Lee brought in his own. Later in the film, a Walther PP, not a PPK, was used. The Auction stated that it was likely that Bernard Lee's 'live and unregistered' PPK was inappropriate for filming on location and EON's PP was the only substitute available. According to Humbert & Ellis this was therefore the first of the famous James Bond Walther PPKs to appear in a Bond film.

Bond fans on AJB were quick to point out that the gun in the particular scene was actually a PP as well, not a PPK, casting doubts over the story of Lee and the claims of the auction house.

Bids for this item were about to start at £30,000, but now the auction is taken off altogether.

It is not yet known if the item will still be auctioned with a different, more nuanced story.

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