James Bond memorabilia auctions include shocking letter from the saintly Roger Moore

Suave and sophisticated are the terms that come to mind when referring to the late, great and saintly James Bond actor Roger Moore. A raised eyebrow perhaps. But certainly not the word ‘bollocks’.

Extracted from Learn Antiques Gazette | Tom Derbyshire

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So it comes as a bit of a shock to see a letter written by Moore which is among of a group of 007 collectables being offered as part of the regular Entertainment & Memorabilia Auction being held by West Midlands saleroom Aston’s on January 17.

The lots have been consigned by the son of the late Brian Bailey. Chris Aston from the Dudley auction house says: “He was a British accountant whose career took him to Hollywood – not a place most people would expect to end up when pursuing a career in finance.

“He worked closely with stars such as Moore on James Bond films like MoonrakerThe Spy Who Loved MeLive and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun.”

Seventeen Bailey lots feature in the auction.

Aston adds: “My personal favourite item of the collection is this framed letter from Roger Moore to Brian Bailey which simply reads ‘Bollocks!’ We can only imagine that this must be in response to Brian rejecting one of Roger’s expense claims…”

This letter is estimated at £300-500.

Another stand-out item, estimated at £4000-6000, is a Moonraker laser rifle created especially for the futuristic 1979 film. “This is one of only a few surviving examples of these props,” says Aston. It belonged to Bailey, who was the production accountant and is named in the end credits of Moonraker.

Estimated at £3000-5000 is a dressing gown from the 1973 film Live and Let Diemade in Switzerland expressly for A Sulka & Company Ltd, London. The gown is worn by Moore in the closing scene where he fights with Tee Hee in the train carriage – about six minutes screen time. (Apologies for lack of spoiler alert for the one person in the world who hasn’t seen the movie.)

Poster popularity

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Bond film posters are a gift that keep on giving for auction houses with the most popular examples in the best condition regularly making thousands.

In the January 17 sale, but separate from the Bailey lots, Aston’s is offering a From Russia with Love (1964) original British Quad first release poster estimated at £800-1200 and a Goldfinger (1964) Original British Quad design for £600-1000.

Bond and Beyond

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Meanwhile, again reflecting the strength of the Bond memorabilia market, Surrey saleroom Ewbank’s has dubbed its February 7 auction Bond and Beyond.

Alastair McCrea, Ewbank’s entertainment and memorabilia specialist, says: “The Bond sale was put on due to demand. We always have a great interest in any Bond items we auction and sellers know it is a great time to sell.

“This is our first auction titled Bond and Beyond. There are about 200 lots from a number of sources but the auction does have one large collection (approxinately 80 lots). We plan to do more in the future as the franchise continues to grow, possibly at the time of release of Bond 25.”

A British Quad poster for another of the Sean Connery Bond outings, You Only Live Twice (1967), is guided at £1000-1500.

A rather more unusual promotional poster telling observers that ‘Bond Drives an Aston…Naturally’, a dealership promotion linked with Thunderball (the first 1965 release), is estimated at £1000-1500. This design was consigned to Ewbank’s by an official Aston Martin family dealership and has been in their possession since issue in the 1960’s when it was given to them by Aston Martin. A signed letter of authenticity from the dealership will be supplied to the purchaser.

Keeping on the theme of ‘curious’, a Gilbert Action Figure depicting Sean Connery in Thunderball, boxed with accessories, about 12in (30cm) high, is estimated at £150-250, and 10 Gilbert Movie Characters in a box set from 1965, in shrink wrap, are guided at £80-120.

My personal favourite is estimated at £100-150: a Gilbert Oddjob action puppet from 1965, on original card, about 13in (33cm) high.