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Bond Movie Pistol Sells for $431,840

mk19mk19 Member Posts: 92 ✭✭
edited November 2010 in General Discussion
http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2010/11/iconic-bond-movie-pistol-sells-for-431840-at-christies/

Iconic Bond Movie Pistol Sells for $431,840 at Christie's

When is a 60s-era air pistol worth $431,840? When it happens to be the gun held by Sean Connery in promotional stills and posters for From Russia with Love, the second film in the hugely popular James Bond 007 film series. Yes that sinister-looking pistol, which some mistook for a long-barreled, 9mm Walther P-38, is actually just a single-shot pellet gun, a Walther .177-cal Luftpistole (LP) model 53 air pistol to be precise.

Bond's LP-53 recently sold at auction in London for ?277,250 ($431,840 US) - nearly 14 times the ?15,000-?20,000 price Christie's Auctioneers had predicted. That just proves that there are many action heroes, but there is only one James Bond. Presumably, this shockingly high auction price may drive up the price of LP-53s on the used market. Sorry, there are no Walther LP-53s for sale on Gunbroker.com today. we checked.

Why was Connery given an air pistol? Here's the story behind the choice of the LP-53. As part of the publicity campaign for From Russia with Love, Magnum photographer David Hurn was commissioned to photograph Sean Connery as Bond - holding 007's signature Walther PPK pistol. But the production crew forgot to bring a PPK to Hurn's studio.

According to Christies' auction lot history: "[W]hen 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 shooter, a small Walther automatic (Walther PPK). By chance David Hurn practiced air pistol target shooting as a hobby and had the air pistol he used for this purpose, also a Walther, to hand. Hurn explained: `It was decided that, without telling Sean or the other representatives of United Artists, we would use my pistol for the pictures and [we] presumed that should anyone have doubts, [when they saw] the name Walther on the gun, they would be reassured. This was, in fact, the case.'"

In theory, the long barrel of the LP-53 air pistol was to be airbrushed out of publicity stills and a PPK was to be substituted when the movie posters were designed. In fact, in one USA-market "James Bond is Back" poster, you'll see Connery holding an airbrushed, short-barrel Walther. However, Renato Fratini, the lead poster artist, preferred the look of the LP-53. Working from Hurn's non-airbrushed original photographs, Fratini designed the posters for world-wide distribution with the long-barreled LP-53 in Bond's hand. The iconic long-barreled Luftpistole was featured in posters for several more Bond movies, including Goldfinger (Japanese poster at right), and The Man With the Golden Gun.
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