James Bond memorabilia
“A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.”

The collector’s guide to James Bond memorabilia

These are the items every 007 aficionado should be pushing straight to the top of their wish list...

It’s no secret that the Gentleman’s Journal team are pretty fanatical about James Bond. Nor will it surprise anyone to hear that the 007 franchise is a veritable money-printing machine — capable of churning out the kind of money even Max Zorin would be impressed by (over $16 billion to date, if you want to put a figure on it).

Feverish excitement surrounds the celluloid adaptations of Ian Fleming’s oeuvre as everyone tries to grab a piece — be that the starring role, an opening weekend cinema ticket, or a collector’s item of memorabilia. And, while the secret service juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down, attracting hundreds of millions at the box office, the original releases — and the books on which they were based — still hold a magnetic charm over new and old fans alike.

Now, with rumours abounding and excitement building around Bond 25, there is no better time to get your hands on some serious Hollywood history. Read on for the ultimate wish list for any Bond aficionado. 

1965 Aston Martin DB5 "Bond Car”

1965 Aston Martin DB5

Back in 1965 no-one could have predicted the fabulously successful multi-decade synergy that would develop when two men from the movie business visited Aston Martin’s Newport-Pagnell plant. Ken Adam and John Stears, respectively a production designer and a special effects man, were on a mission to source a pair of the latest Aston Martins for use in Eon Productions’ adaptation of that little-known Ian Fleming novel, Goldfinger.

In typical moviemaking fashion, the producers wanted two near-identical cars to fulfill various roles during filming. One would be required for stunt driving and chase sequences and needed to be lightweight and fast. The other, to be used for interior shots and close-ups, was to undergo several functional modifications created by Stears, the kind that would furnish James Bond with an unprecedented amount of gadgetry.

And now, the Aston Martin DB5, complete with functional props like a smoke screen and gun barrels hidden in the fenders, is up for auction. Quite simply the most iconic car of all time, DB5/2008/R is the most legendary Aston Martin ever built, as one of the cornerstones of a marketing relationship that exists to this day. It would crown any important collection and offers a highly desirable acquisition for the serious marque collector… or secret agent.

“The Most Famous Car in the World” is offered by RM Sotheby’s, 15-17th August

The James Bond Archives

The James Bond Archives

In collaboration with EON Productions, this trade edition of The James Bond Archives published by Taschen is a compact yet comprehensive record of every single Bond film ever made, beginning with Dr. No (1962) and ending with Spectre (2015).

The wealth of on-set photos, never-before-seen stills, set designs, storyboards, and production memos is supplemented by an oral history recounted by over 150 cast and crew members. From producers to stuntmen, directors to production designers, these personal narratives relate the inside story from the Bond sets, offering outstanding insight into the personalities and processes behind the most successful and longest-running film franchise in cinema history.

The editor of this remarkable collection, Paul Duncan, is a film historian whose Taschen books include The Charlie Chaplin Archives, The Godfather Family Album, Taxi Driver, Film Noir, and Horror Cinema, as well as publications on film directors, film genres, movie stars, and film posters.

James Bond Rolex Submariner

Rolex and the world’s most famous spy have enjoyed a fruitful relationship for decades. Ian Fleming, who himself wore a Rolex Explorer, described Bond sporting the watchmaker’s creations in a number of his novels. 

This particular stainless steel collector’s item is believed to have been produced in 1958. Four years later, Connery would wear a version of the timepiece — a Rolex Submariner 6538 — during his first outing as the British spy, earning it the nickname the “James Bond Submariner.”

And while it might not feature a laser cutter, detonator or any other hidden gadgets (at least that we know of), 007’s first on-screen watch is estimated to fetch $180,000 to $280,000 when it goes to auction from August 14 to 20.

Peter Harrington Rare Book Collection

This year, the world’s largest rare bookseller Peter Harrington celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Marking this significant milestone, the seller has unveiled an exceptional collection of Ian Fleming material for £2.5m, which it exhibited at this year’s Masterpiece London. It is the most significant Fleming Collection to ever appear on the market and contains inscribed first editions of every James Bond book published in the author’s lifetime.

Peter Harrington Rare Book Collection

Amongst these inscriptions are some sensational associations, including an omnibus edition of Casino Royale, From Russia With Love and Doctor No inscribed to James Bond; Live and Let Die inscribed to Winston Churchill; The Spy Who Loved Me inscribed to Robert Kennedy; Moonraker inscribed to Raymond Chandler; and From Russia with Love bearing a personal inscription from Fleming to his wife. 

The Collection also includes a number of manuscripts, pre-publication proofs, advance copies and ephemera, and a number of books from Fleming’s personal library. These include a notebook kept by Fleming on a trip to Japan, from which selected passages appear in You Only Live Twice, books from his childhood and a copy of Raymond Chandler’s last novel inscribed to Fleming by the author. 

Further Reading