23 December 2009
Toy expert Jim Stevenson takes invites you on a nostalgic tour of vintage James Bond collectables. ...
When the first James Bond films hit the big screen back in the 1960s manufacturers were quick to realise the huge toy potential of the cars and the weapons seen in these early Bond adventures. Soon shelves were laden with all sorts of Bond gadgets, figures and models, and all are highly sought after by vintage toy collectors today. Here are a few examples of those vintage Bond gems along with an idea of the prices that mint examples are making today.
Let’s start with that famous DB5 Aston Martin. This tinplate toy is a modified version of the famous battery-operated car produced by Gilbert in the US. Both versions feature machine gun lights and sound, a manually-operated ejector seat and a bullet-proof screen that rises and lowers as the car drives along. After Gilbert’s demise the Japanese manufacturer ASC took over production and slightly altered the original concept to include a Bump and Go, or ‘Mystery Action’ as it says on the box. The Japanese version is more difficult to track down and commands a price of around £400–£600 in mint-boxed condition.
This next DB5 is a collecting icon for Bond fans and model kit collectors alike. It’s the original model DB5 made by Airfix in 1965. The great artwork on the box and the very accurate detail of the model itself makes this a must for both types of collector. As with any collectable kit it has to be unmade for it to be of any considerable worth. That being the case then £300–£500, depending on the box condition, should get you a nice example.
In 1968 Airfix produced another Bond model, this time based on the Toyota 2000 GT, as seen in You Only Live Twice. Once again it comes with great detail and some cracking box art making this another must-have item for any collector. Values for mint examples can reach £350–£500.
It’s not only the cars that are the stars of the Bond toy world. Several of 007’s best-loved weapons were also recreated as toys. Here are some fine examples from one of England’s best-loved toy makers, Lone Star. First up we have a real evergreen, the P.38 diecast cap pistol and silencer, as used by Bond in Goldfinger. This little cracker features super artwork showing Sean Connery holding the gun. There is another version with a picture of a man who looks more like Graham Norton than Sean Connery! The one shown here is the one to get, for obvious reasons. Mint, boxed examples can sell for around £250–£500 depending on the condition of the toy and that all-important box.
Next up is the deluxe version of the James Bond 007 Special Agent Presentation Set. This gem comes with a P.38 cap gun, silencer, telescopic sight, handcuffs, clip-on holster, 007 badge, wireframe shoulder stock and a passport. Both the standard and the deluxe versions come in the same flip-top box, however, the standard version doesn’t include the shoulder stock or the sight and is more common that the deluxe issue. The price for the standard set is around £400–£600 and £700–£1,000 for the deluxe version.
The last offering from Lone Star’s arsenal is the Super Thunderball Harpoon Gun, c. 1965. The toy, which fires rubber sucker tipped harpoons, is great but it’s the box artwork with Connery on the front that steals the show. I love this toy and so do many collectors. They rarely turn up for sale these days. When they do you can expect to pay £500 plus for a really nice example.