My attention was directed to a story in the British press today about a movie memorabilia auction featuring some rather iconic items, like a complete Darth Vader outfit. More interesting to readers of this blog was the news that that the gun held by Sean Connery in the poster for From Russia With Love sold for an astounding 277,500 pounds Sterling- about $437,000 US. Regular readers should reorganize the gun right off, and wonder why a spy with a license to kill would be holding it. It’s a Walther LP-53 air pistol, one of the great classics of late 20th Century air pistols.
As a match pistol it’s no great shakes. Velocity is a modest 300fps with match pellets, and the curious vertical recoil (the piston’s in the grip) makes it much more difficult to shoot than, say, a FWB 65 of the same era. Still, this is one of the most beautiful air pistols ever made. It’s very similar in appearance to Walther .22LR target pistols of the era, and I’m told it even uses some of the same accessories, like barrel weights and grips.
As a collectible it’s still not terribly expensive. Although I’ve seen sellers ask as much as $425, I saw one recently go for under $200. If I saw another under $200 I’d probably jump on it.
In case you’re wondering why Connery was shown holding an air pistol instead of the Walther PPK that James Bond carried in all the Ian Fleming novels, it seems that one of the production crew forgot to bring the PPK to the photo shoot, and the LP53 was the next best thing they could find.