Although Ian Fleming did not provide James Bond with a birth date, John Pearson’s official fictional biography of the agent does, and it turns out that 007 would have turned 100 on November 11th, 2020.
Coinciding with the centenary and the passing of Sean Connery aged 90 is Ewbank’s Auctions’ James Bond memorabilia sale, aptly titled A Time To Buy, on November 20.
Ewbank’s have been holding dedicated Bond auctions for some time, with additional appearances of Fleming’s creation in their Movie Poster sales.
If Sean Connery is most people’s idea of the perfect Bond, original posters for the first film in the franchise, Dr No, which introduced him to the public, are the must-have collectable for aficionados. As with poster collecting in general, rarity and condition are of vital importance and so can have a dramatic impact on price levels.
This latest sale offers three Dr No examples at differing estimates. Each is a 30 x 40 inch British Quad poster, the more expensive two featuring the uncensored artwork by Mitchell Hooks, including one Bond girl in her bikini and another shielded by the briefest of towels.
The third is the censored Irish version, the bikini replaced by a more modest cocktail dress and the towel augmented by a swimsuit beneath. Modesty comes at a price, with the estimate here £3,000-5,000 – a series of vertical folds also contributing to the more muted value.
Of the other two, condition again comes into play. At £6,000-9,000, the most expensively priced lot in the sale is generally in good condition, with some minor blemishes and touch-ups mainly to a small tear lower middle which has been repaired. Crucially, no major restoration has been carried out and the colours remain strong.
The other example also has bright colours but also has a few additional minor condition issues – enough to reduce the estimate to £5,000-8,000 by comparison.
In this case, those issues are a single fold line (if you can’t keep them flat, always roll rather than fold posters), a small amount of paper loss to the lower left corner, a piece of tape stuck on the top right corner and some tape residue in the other corners as well as some light creasing and a ‘snipe’ (additional information added after printing) over the 007 logo.
Other highlights in the sale include a number of posters priced in the hundreds and thousands of pounds, including five character British Quad film posters for the yet-to-be-released No Time To Die, estimated at £300-500.
As a Bond aficionado, Ewbank’s specialist Alastair McCrea is in regular contact with a network of influential collectors seeking rare film posters, props and costumes associated with the long-lasting series of films that now stretch back almost 60 years.
Here are his top ten tips for buying Bond
1. The most valuable Bond memorabilia tends to be from the Sean Connery era.
2. Purchase from reputable sources when a novice buyer.
3. Provenance is key, if you can prove something has starred in one of the movies it will make a big difference.
4. Research the item you are buying, look for other realised prices to get an idea of what it is worth.
5. Speak to experts, whether a fan forum or specialist they are often happy to give you extra information.
6. Even if you can’t afford to spend big there are many lower value items that increase in value, a good place to start is the 007 website.
7. Decide what area you want to collect whether it be posters, toys, autographs or props. There is so much breadth to James Bond collectibles.
8. Try to collect authentic pieces rather than replicas.
9. Collect what you like rather than always concentrating on investment.
10. Enjoy it!
Live online bidding is available via the Ewbank’s website, www.ewbankauctions.co.uk.
All images courtesy of Ewbank’s Auctions.
Ewbank’s A Time to Buy auction on November 20th exceeded expectations, trebling estimates to a total of £130,000.
Topping the White Glove auction was a Dr No poster estimated at £6,000-9,000 that sold for £22,000 hammer. Another version estimated at £5,000-8,000, sold for £13,000, while a rare UK Door Panel poster of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service expected to fetch £1,000-1,500 sold for £9,500.
“The demand for Bond is stronger than ever,” said Ewbank’s specialist Alastair McCrea. “There are so many collectors, and investors are also now seeing it as a prime area to invest in with interest rates being so low.”
With three Dr No posters on offer – a real rarity because they are so scarce – buyers’ attention turned quickly to the auction.
James Bond/Send a Job M, a 1987 artwork showing Sean Connery in classic pose by Massimo Agostinelli, took £6,600 against hopes of £3,000-5,000, while posters for Thunderball (est. £2,500-3,500) and You Only Live Twice (est. £1,000-1,500) took £4,200 and £3,600 respectively.
Non-British or US versions of posters did exceptionally well. French versions of posters for From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service had each been pitched at £80-120, but went for £340 and £460. An Italian poster for Diamonds Are Forever carried hopes of £50-80 but sold for £380, while a French poster for Octopussy expected to make £50-80 went for £260.
Two Belgian posters, one for Live and Let Die, the other for The Man with the Golden Gun, were offered together at £50-80 but reached £240.
In August last year, Ewbank’s dispersed the movie poster collection of Anthony Duggan, the late London Underground electrician known as the capital’s greatest film fan. Kept back for this auction were a number of Duggan Bond lots, including a Triple Bond original cinema display British Quad film poster for Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only and Diamonds Are Forever. The plainest of all designs offered in this outing, it had an estimate of just £40-60, but the Duggan provenance encouraged bidders on until the hammer fell at £600.
Even better was an Advance One Sheet poster for A View to a Kill signed and inscribed by Roger Moore: “To the Ace Cinema with my best wishes Roger Moore”. Also from the Anthony Duggan collection, it left its £150-250 estimate way behind to sell for £2,000.
Among the toys, collectables and ephemera, a stand-out lot was a collection of six poker chips from the 2006 Daniel Craig debut film Casino Royale, which sold for £600 against an estimate of £40-60.
“It was astonishing just how keen people were to acquire something from the sale,” said McCrea. “A special poster created to celebrate Goldfinger in 2007 merited a guide of £500-800, but doubled the top estimate at £1,600.
“And even though original posters were the real prize for most, we also saw bidders competing heavily over other items. A set of ten Skyfall lobby cards, for instance, which I had pitched at £50-80, took £260, while an original brochure for the Royal World Premiere of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was held at the Odeon Leicester Square, sold for £600 against an estimate of £50-80.
“The buzz around Bond is strong as ever. This sale was electric.”