LONDON - In Skyfall, James Bond sits in the National Gallery contemplating a painting by Turner. Q arrives and gives him a new Walther PPK, personalized to 007’s palm-print. Bond’s gun will be “less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement.” Contrast this to the situation in the early 1960s.

James Bond’s Walther gun, as used by Sean Connery in the publicity shots for four James Bond films, and featured in “the most famous of all Bond images.” Estimate: £100,000–150,000.

For the second Bond film, From Russia with Love, it was decided to shoot a publicity image of Sean Connery with his Walther PPK. When 007 arrived at the photo studio, however, it was discovered that nobody had brought Bond’s small Walther automatic pistol.

By chance the photographer enjoyed target shooting and had his own Walther air pistol to hand. It was decided to use this for the photos and, should anyone have any doubts, the name “Walther” was visible on the gun. The long barrel of the air pistol was to be removed by airbrushing during the design of the poster. For reasons unknown this was never done.

Ian Fleming, A collection of James Bond books in first edition. Estimate: £10,000–15,000.

Take a look at the poster for From Russia with Love (1963). Sean Connery holds a huge air pistol to his face. The publicity shots were used for the next three films, Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967). Did no gun enthusiast notice? Even today, there’s the gun (take a look at the Blu-Ray box)

That image of Connery with an air pistol is one of the most famous and instantly recognizable of all pictures of James Bond. The air pistol itself, less of a random prop, more of a movie icon, will be offered in Sotheby’s London English Literature sale on 12 December.

Tags:Auctions, Books & Manuscripts, London