Collecting the Autographs of James Bond

With Alex Brauchle

Matt: How did you start collecting Bond autographs?

Alexander: The first Bond autograph I received about 13 years ago; a wonderful Roger Moore piece signed for a friend at a German television station. After this, I began to pursue all the Bonds for signings; after I had them all, as do most Bond hunters nowadays, I started to collect the girls’ inscribed stuff. Later, villains and behind the scenes people were also followed by exciting Bond related documents and movie props used on screen!

Matt: Just how many autographed items from the world of James Bond do you own now?

Alex: Would you believe it? Nearly 4,000 items!

Matt: 4,000 of them! Your very favorite item which you own? Is there such a thing?

Alex: An 8″ x 10″ original movie still signed by Adolfo Celi, [“Emilio Largo” in “Thunderball”] the king of all 007 autographs and the rarest! But, it is hard to say for certain as I have many other very rare and wonderful pieces, like authentic Sean Connery signings. 90% of Connery “signings” are clever forgeries! I love my Harold Sakata and Goldfinger cast signed pieces, with up to a dozen signatures on one still (!) and everyone loves the movie props; some major pieces like Drax’s girl’s miniskirts from Moonraker; “real” gold bars from Goldfinger; a one–meter long life boat from Tomorrow Never Dies’ Devonshire ship model used in the film; Valentin Zukovsky’s caviar jar from the recent “World Is Not Enough” and much more…you see it is hard to say what is my favorite piece…[smiles].

Matt: Any exciting “war stories” for our readers on how you earned a special collectible or perhaps funny stories on how a rare collectibles got away from your grasp?

Alex: Always interesting is the “great auction war,” for example the battle royal at Christie’s auction house last year. [Note: Proxy bidders from around the world stormed this exciting auction online and through intermediaries.] A nice, charming story was with Pierce Brosnan when he filmed in Hamburg, Germany the TND film. I was there to meet with him in his spare time between filming shots. Pierce is a gracious and courteous star, who signed all items for all comers. For me he signed on the back of a police officers shirt to have something to lean upon! At that time, I met with a lot of Bond girls and Desmond Llewelyn who will be sorely missed, Gotz Otto who played “Stamper” and many others.

Matt: Do you have any tips for aspiring bond autograph collectors?

Alex: Research all the information you can on any signed piece before you buy. Examine the genuine article yourself before you buy anything. The very best is to ask several dealers or collectors what they think about a particular autographed item. I am also willing to help in this field always, we can put the power together to run unscrupulous dealers out of the Bond business! I also have a private black list of bad sellers…any 007Forever fan can have it on request!

[Note from Matt and Alex: Three keys to getting signed pieces from the stars themselves 97% of the time 1) ask for the item to be inscribed to you personally, an assurance for the actor that the item is not for immediate resale 2) enclose the item you want signed to inside a padded, self-addressed stamped envelope or enclose international stamp coupons for items to be shipped back to you overseas 3) include a brief, heartfelt note about how you enjoy the actor’s work. Following these three steps often mean collectors receive delightful personalized correspondence attached to their star autographs!]

Matt: Are you considering a trip as a dealer/fan to Bond Collectors’ Weekend in New Orleans?

Alex: It would certainly be an interesting event as I go over as I can to make an appearance in the US. I think Bond fans there at your New Orleans meet will appreciate my wares.

Matt: What are some of the trends you foresee in autograph collecting? How have “Bonds on the market” changed over the years?

Alex: The trends are bad for collectors! Every day, it seems, more and more fakes hit the market and people without a source of reference like you, Matt or me, buy such bad stuff. I am working at the moment on a signature reference book specialized on James Bond stars! [Watch for excerpts here at Collectors’ Corner.] I authenticate most of my stuff in the very best way: I have a great signature library from my in person visits with Bond movie stars…from the 60’s until through today’s celebrities. Especially helpful is my extensive signature documentation for the writings of Sean Connery. I am searching for an American publisher for my reference book, which will be ready at end of this year! Now the prices for the good stuff, the fully authenticated stuff, seems to increase each day as many celebrities have stopped signing, even in personal appearances, and are very hard to get as is Connery. Sean Connery’s true signature is extremely tough to find, and at the same time, Mr. Brosnan has too many fans that request an autograph to sharply increase his signing value.

Matt: What else do you specialize in Bond-wise?

Alex: Original movie props used and made for the Bond movies as mentioned; 007-related documents, especially signed contracts from the stars themselves, star-signed checks and bill payments, inscribed books and private documents, for an example Sean Connery’s private membership card from Beverly Hills Country Club…my thanks to 007Forever’s readers for providing this opportunity. I look ahead to receiving their email!

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