Collecting 007: new series

Recently I asked readers what they would like to see more of on The James Bond Dossier. One thing that came up again and again was articles on collecting memorabilia, including posters, props, books and toys.

Casino Royale paperback and Corgi DB5

So I emailed a number of fellow fans in my address book and asked them to share their favourite Bond collectibles. You’ll be able to read those in the coming weeks.

But to kick off this new series I’ve turned the interrogation lights on myself. Here I discuss my favourite items and share some other info related to collecting 007 memorabilia.

When and how did you first get bitten by the Bond bug?

My parents were already Bond fans and my dad owned a couple of paperbacks. I read the first of those, Casino Royale, when I was about eight and around the same time my best friend took his Corgi Aston Martin DB5 to school. I wanted one too, which I bought at a local shop of 99p!

I had to take it back though as when I got it home I found the box didn’t include the little blue man to eject, so I took it back and swapped it for another. And then my dad took me to see The Man With The Golden Gun on the big screen. I was hooked.

What’s your favourite item in your collection and why?

DB5 and Casino Royale paperback

Difficult to say exactly as I’m not really that much of a collector, more like a hoarder. For sentimental reasons I’d have to say my paperback copy of Casino Royale, which was my first exposure to Ian Fleming’s writing, but also at the same time I bought the Corgi Aston Martin DB5.

It’s very battered and far from being in pristine condition, but much loved. Curiously I lost one of the two ejectable men at some point, I can’t even say how long ago, but my brother found him a couple of years ago among all his stuff when he moved house!

I had a few Bond toys but they suffered from being used quite a lot. I used to have a toy gun with silencer and holster, passport, code wheel and walkie talkies made by Lone Star. Incidentally, their factory was less than a mile from the family home at the time but closed down long ago. It may be that it shows up in my brother’s loft among the junk he seems to have collected over the years.

Want to share your collection here?

Use the contact form to let me know in a couple of sentences what you’d like to share. Also tell me why you think it would be interesting for readers of The James Bond Dossier.

If I like what you tell me I’ll email you a link to complete the questionnaire.

What item would you most like to add?

There is one thing that I don’t have anymore that I wish I did though. My dad saved an article from the Sunday Times Colour Supplement from the early 1960s that featured James Bond’s guns. From memory it had a Beretta, a Walther PPK, a Smith and Wesson, a Colt and a Berns-Martin shoulder holster.

At some point it disappeared and when I moved to Barcelona in 2001 I thought it would turn up among my possessions. It didn’t.

I’ve never seen the article anywhere online, but really wish I had it, even a facsimile of it. If anyone knows where I can get hold of a copy then please get in contact!

What’s your biggest obstacle to collecting, or is there a tip you’d like to share?

As I mentioned before I don’t really consider myself to be a collector and so what I have is largely unplanned. Mostly I own books, but their value to me is what is between the covers rather than what they’d fetch on eBay. Not much I’d think, but that isn’t the point.

I did buy a first edition copy of You Only Live Twice, but without dustjacket and I found it is a second printing anyway. I don’t remember how much I paid, but it certainly wasn’t the bargain I thought it was. Based on that experience I’d say the biggest obstacle is lack of knowledge. You should do your research before spending any money.

Anything else?

The other thing I love is my Merkur safety razor, which I use every day. In the latter books James Bond used a heavy toothed Hoffritz razor. Although the brand no longer supplies shaving equipment, it turns out the brand’s razor would have been manufactured by Merkur, whose razors certainly are available.

Unfortunately I miss attending most Bond related events. There was a time I spend so much time travelling it wasn’t true, but these days it’s more difficult for various reasons. But I’ve got some good memories of attending a fortieth anniversary screening of Thunderball in London back in 2005. It’s also been great to meet people at the premieres I’ve attended so far.

Where can people find you?

You can find me here at The James Bond Dossier, or on social media. I prefer Twitter, but also have a Facebook page for the site and recently started using Instagram too. There you can see many of the books and other items I own.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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One Response to “Collecting 007: new series”

  • Tony Santo

    Nice memories, David. Thanks for sharing with us.