Auction for James Bond Walther Blows Up Amid Controversy

Was this the original Bond Walther? Turns out, that’s up for debate. (Photo: Humbert and Ellis)

What at first appeared to be the original Bond gun was headed for auction later this year at the Humbert and Ellis house, but that auction got canceled. It might just have been a scam. Or at least, an honest mistake.

The auction was for Bond’s first Walther pistol. It appeared to have all the necessary provenance, including a letter from its owner, none other than Bernard Lee. Lee played M in the classic Bond films.

According to the auctioneers, the filmmakers couldn’t get a prop gun on set in time, so he offered his own personal Walther for use. It was a real, working firearm, and as such, was later swapped out.

Lee later gave the gun to a friend, with an enclosed letter.

“Dear Jane, I know you will not accept anything in return for all your help and the kindness that you and John have shown to me throughout these trying times but my conscience will not let it go unrewarded.”

“Enclosed is a small token of my gratitude that I would like your boy to have as and when you see fit,” he continued. “This Walther pistol numbered 149894 is a small piece of 007 history.”

“As you are aware I have played the part of M in several of the James Bond films. The first of these, ‘Doctor No’ contained a scene in which Sean was scolded by myself about his choice of firearm.”

“His Beretta pistol was replaced by a Walther pistol. On the day of the take the pistol that was to be used was not going to be available, so I took into the studio and used for the scene this pistol which I have had for many years.”

“This pistol is there for the first one ever to appear in a James Bond film. Yours very sincerely, John Bernard Lee.”

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According to enthusiasts and experts alike, Bond’s first on-screen Walther was with the original PP, not the PPK. (Photo: Humbert and Ellis)

There’s just one question: did Bond first use a Walther PPK in the first film “Dr. No,” or did he use a Walther PP? The debate has people scrambling to pause footage everywhere.

The auction for the handgun, which includes a signed photograph of Sean Connery, the first James Bond, was for a PPK. However, film buffs say that the first Walther Bond picked up on screen was the PP, not the PPK.

Even with the solid provenance, the auction house quietly pulled the offering. “Given such a tide of differing opinion, the only course was to regretfully withdraw it, pending further diligence and investigation. Even the experts cannot agree.”

This may be a real Bond gun, but is it his first Walther? We may never know.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Jeffery Hamilton December 8, 2018, 11:22 am

    I doubt Sir Connery would know the difference, but he and the prop person for the movie would be the only other primary sources that could legitimately weigh in! Mr. Lee is the only other primary source that can address the issue. All other sources are secondary and it’s ridiculous to speculate.

  • William Martin December 7, 2018, 9:04 pm

    Is it not possible (for lack of other evidence) that the PPK was in a “cut” scene and replaced with a PP?
    Personally I believe Lee’s version, see no reason to doubt it.
    None of us were there to bear witness, the kangaroo court is adjourned. 😉
    #IBELIEVESOMEONEWHOWAS THEREOVERONETHATWASNT

  • CPD701 December 7, 2018, 6:43 pm

    The gun carried by Sean Connery in the first James Bond film “Dr. No” was indeed a Walther PP, not a PPK – although it was called a PPK by the MI6 armorer as he presented it to 007 in M’s office. The PP is easily recognized by its slide and barrel, which is longer than the PPK. In the sequence in M’s office, it replaces a .32 caliber 1934 Beretta, ironic because the Walther PP (and PPK) is also in .32 caliber. The .25 caliber Beretta Ian Fleming equipped 007 with in the early James Bond novels is generally considered to have been a Model 418.

    In “From Russia With Love” (and “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” etc.) Bond is, as mentioned, properly equipped with a Walther PPK, but Q mistakenly describes the AR-7 rifle as being “Point 2-5 (.25) caliber,” when he should have said .22 caliber.

    • Stuart Buncher December 11, 2018, 5:16 pm

      My Walther PPK is a .380.

  • Area 52 December 7, 2018, 1:29 pm

    The authenticate 007 Walther if there really was one would be worthless to me. All the actors who played Bond were extremely anti- gun. Sean Connery,Roger Moore, Dan Craig, all spoke out about the private possession of firearms but yet made their money portraying a character that carries a gun and has a license to kill.

  • ALLEN C ATKINS December 7, 2018, 12:05 pm

    If you have only seen the movies and never read the books, I would highly recommend taking a look. The Dr. No movie follows the book pretty well, although in the book he is given two weapons. The famed Walther PPK 7.65mm. The other, never mentioned in the movie, Smith and Wesson Centennial Air Weight 38 special. I have no reason to doubt Mr. Lee’s account of the events but if there were any questions about authenticity, I understand why it had to be withdrawn. I think quite a few collectors would be excited just to buy the PPK once owned by M!

  • Chris December 7, 2018, 8:23 am

    Why not ask Sean Connery? : ()

  • Braughing Banger December 7, 2018, 7:18 am

    Agreed on Bond switching to the PPK in his 2nd movie, From Russia with Love. The armourer described his prior pistol (1935 Beretta ?) as a ladies gun with little stopping power, I seem to recall.
    But one boo-boo in the film was the use of the AR7 , as believe it was shown alongside small centrfire rounds, poss. .32 ACP. I plagued my local firearms dealer for that calibre AR7 till he explained it was never in existace

    • Al December 7, 2018, 9:36 am

      Yes , a Beretta in .25.
      And then the Armourer made the laughing silly claim that the .32 was like a “brick through a plate glass window”.

  • Romeo Moti December 5, 2018, 10:35 pm

    Judging from the cover of a Dr. No DVD case, I think James Bond’s first Walther was the PP, not the PPK.

    Bond would use the PPK from “From Russia With Love” onwards.

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