A handgun handed to Sean Connery in the opening scenes of Dr No in 1962 is to be auctioned.
The Walther PPK pistol was owned at the time by M actor Bernard Lee, who brought it on set when a prop was not available.
A letter signed by Lee confirms the then fully-active gun was the “first ever to appear in a James Bond film”.
Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert described the piece as a “superlative piece of British film history”.
Bernard Lee was the longest-serving M actor, playing the role in the first 11 Eon-produced Bond films, from Dr No in 1962 to Moonraker, in 1979.
Mr Lee brought the live gun along for the filming of the early Dr No scene after a prop gun ordered by Eon Productions did not arrive on time.
According to provenance notes, a different Walther pistol was used for the rest of the film because Mr Lee’s gun was deemed “inappropriate”.
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The actor later gave the weapon to the parents of the vendor in 1974, with a signed letter in which he says: “This pistol is the first ever to appear in a James Bond film.”
The letter adds: “It was fully functional at the time. I have since removed the firing pin.”
The firearm is expected to fetch as much as £80,000 in the auction.
A pistol held by Sean Connery in a poster to promote the 1963 film From Russia With Love sold at auction for £277,250 in 2010.