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November 30th, 2010

Iconic Bond Movie Pistol Sells for $431,840 at Christie’s

James Bond Walther LP 53When is a 60s-era air pistol worth $431,840? When it happens to be the gun held by Sean Connery in promotional stills and posters for From Russia with Love, the second film in the hugely popular James Bond 007 film series. Yes that sinister-looking pistol, which some mistook for a long-barreled, 9mm Walther P-38, is actually just a single-shot pellet gun, a Walther .177-cal Luftpistole (LP) model 53 air pistol to be precise.

The $431,840 Movie Prop
Bond’s LP-53 recently sold at auction in London for £277,250 ($431,840 US) — nearly 14 times the £15,000-£20,000 price Christie’s Auctioneers had predicted. That just proves that there are many action heroes, but there is only one James Bond. Presumably, this shockingly high auction price may drive up the price of LP-53s on the used market. Sorry, there are no Walther LP-53s for sale on Gunbroker.com today… we checked.

James Bond Walther LP 53Why was Connery given an air pistol? Here’s the story behind the choice of the LP-53. As part of the publicity campaign for From Russia with Love, Magnum photographer David Hurn was commissioned to photograph Sean Connery as Bond — holding 007’s signature Walther PPK pistol. But the production crew forgot to bring a PPK to Hurn’s studio.

Photographer Used His Own Gun
According to Christies’ auction lot history: “[W]hen Connery arrived at his studio for the shoot, it was discovered by publicist Tom Carlile that no one had brought the gun needed for the shooter, a small Walther automatic (Walther PPK). By chance David Hurn practiced air pistol target shooting as a hobby and had the air pistol he used for this purpose, also a Walther, to hand. Hurn explained: ‘It was decided that, without telling Sean or the other representatives of United Artists, we would use my pistol for the pictures and [we] presumed that should anyone have doubts, [when they saw] the name Walther on the gun, they would be reassured. This was, in fact, the case.'”

James Bond Walther LP 53

James Bond Walther LP 53Poster Designer Favors Look of Long-Barreled Pistol Over PPK
In theory, the long barrel of the LP-53 air pistol was to be airbrushed out of publicity stills and a PPK was to be substituted when the movie posters were designed. In fact, in one USA-market “James Bond is Back” poster, you’ll see Connery holding an airbrushed, short-barrel Walther. However, Renato Fratini, the lead poster artist, preferred the look of the LP-53. Working from Hurn’s non-airbrushed original photographs, Fratini designed the posters for world-wide distribution with the long-barreled LP-53 in Bond’s hand. The iconic long-barreled Luftpistole was featured in posters for several more Bond movies, including Goldfinger (Japanese poster at right), and The Man With the Golden Gun.

Credit The Firearm Blog for spotting this item in the BBC News.
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February 24th, 2009

Smith & Wesson Recalls Walther PPK and PPK/S Pistols

S&W PPK RecallOn February 20, 2009, Smith & Wesson issued a RECALL of Walther PPK and PPK/S pistols. This recall applies to all Walther PPK and PPK/S pistols manufactured by Smith & Wesson from March 21, 2002, until February 3, 2009. Smith & Wesson has identified a condition that may exist in certain PPK and PPK/S pistols which may permit a round to be discharged without the trigger being pulled. When the manual safety is disengaged, Smith & Wesson’s Product Engineering Group has determined that the possibility exists in certain firearms that lowering the hammer may cause a chambered round to fire.

CLICK HERE for the Serial Numbers of the pistols subject to this recall.

Remedy and Action to Be Taken
Smith & Wesson advises: “STOP USING YOUR PISTOL AND RETURN IT TO SMITH & WESSON AT ONCE. Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential for causing injury, and we ask that you stop using your pistol immediately.

When you return your pistol to Smith & Wesson, we will replace the existing hammer block feature with a new part at no cost to you. Your firearm will be returned as quickly and efficiently as possible. When your pistol is returned, you should note a punch dot which appears at the back of the frame. See the photograph below. This marking is verification that the new hammer block has been installed and that your pistol is safe to handle.”

ppkrecall2

FREE Shipping Voucher and Instructions
To receive a UPS pre-paid billable stamp and shipping instructions to arrange for the modification of your pistol, CLICK HERE or contact Smith & Wesson directly at 1-800-331-0852.

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