A little over two years ago, an air gun /pistol used by Sean Connery for some iconic James Bond publicity photos stunned the hobby when it sold at the traditional late November Christie’s South Kensington Pop Culture auction far in excess of its estimate, realizing a staggering £277,250 (US$438,609) including buyer’s premium. In a resale by Sotheby’s this past weekend, it sold for less than half that amount.
The original sale was was especially surprising since 1) the piece was sold by Christie’s at their SK auction in February 2001 for US$20,487, and 2) it was never actually used in any of the films (more, the type and design of the pistol was a far cry from the Walther PPK associated with the character). The same piece was offered for sale again this past weekend by Sotheby’s, though it was not part of a movie and television memorabilia sale, but rather a sale for “English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations”. It was so under the radar, I was not even aware of the sale until after it happened (courtesy of a news article by The Daily Mail). It this reoffering, the piece only realized the opening bid of £100,000 (£121,250 with buyer’s premium, or about $197,000 in U.S. dollars), less than half what it was purchased for two years ago.
The listing for the most current sale can be found on the official Sotheby’s website (see “Lot 116, 116: [Fleming, Ian]–Walther”).
The sale, for me, raises more questions than it addresses regarding the sale of the piece. I felt that the $438,609 value was high, but I suspect it would have sold for more than the current auction price if the sale was more widely publicized, and/or if it was consigned to a true entertainment memorabilia or pop culture auction. It will be interesting to see if this one appears for public sale again in the future, and if so, what will happen.