The recent auction in the USA, where more than two hundred items that belonged to the gangster Al Capone were auctioned off, including his favorite Colt 1911 (sold for 1.04 million dollars) has just ended and we have to tell you about another auction organized by the London-based Prop Store, which catapults us into the magical world of cinema. From November 9 to 11, 2021 more than a thousand props that appeared in action and sci-fi films will be auctioned off. In this case there is no live firearm – these are fictional objects that have entered forever into legend thanks to the fact that they were used in very successful movies.
M41A Pulse Rifle: From the science fiction movie "Aliens"
When the movie Aliens was released in theaters it was 1986 and fans of science fiction weapons were impressed by the guns of choice of the space colonies Marines, namely the M41A Pulse Rifle that fires "10x24 caseless ammunition". The powerful individual weapon used in the movie is actually based on a Thompson M1 SMG whose unmistakable charging handle is the only recognizable element, as the gun is completely encased in a plastic and aluminum shell. The M41A pulse rifle also features a pump-action grenade launcher under the main barrel, and the sliding handguard was taken from a Franchi SPAS 12 shotgun. In addition to five or perhaps six examples capable of firing blanks, a number of polyurethane foam models were made for the film's production for use in long-camera shots or for action scenes without gunfire where actors could be injured. The replica weapon measures 71.25 x 26.75 x 7.75 cm and shows several signs of use. This is a true cult item for fans of the Alien saga. A curiosity: director James Cameron in person designed this fictional gun and chose the Thompson M1 as a basis after discarding the UZI and H&K MP5, because the US submachine gun in .45 caliber produced spectacular muzzle flashes with blank ammo for stage use. One of these replicas, obviously inert since it has no internal mechanisms, is up for auction starting at £20,000 (about €24,000).
The hybrid revolver: Used in the fantasy film "The Dark Tower"
The hero of this fantasy film - based on a Stephen King's novel - is an enigmatic gunslinger named Roland Deschain, played by the granite Idris Elba. The infallible shooter is armed with a pair of fancy revolvers, made from a Remington 1858 replica (probably by Pedersoli) that was heavily modified. While the original is a muzzleloader and single-action gun, the one used by the movie protagonist is a breechloader with a swing-out cylinder and fires in double action mode what appear to be .45 Long Colt cartridges, which are loaded using a real "speed loader". Since this is a Fantasy movie, without any claim to realism, it is useless to be too fussy: we would only spoil the taste of the show. But let's come to the auction gun: this lot consists of a high quality, non-functional steel revolver with silver finish, moving trigger, barrel and hammer, brass trigger guard and wood grip. Also included is a notebook containing 16 black and white printed images and 11 loose monochromatic and color printed images. The lot exhibits signs of wear from age and use. Stephen King fans will be able to take home this enigmatic revolver starting from £3000 (approximately €3500).
Tom Cruise's space assault rifle: from the science fiction "Oblivion"
In this case too we are faced with a "stunt gun" or a rubber reproduction of the live firing weapon used in the film. "Stunt guns" are used for safety and practicality in all the scenes where the actors do not have to shoot. They are much lighter than prop guns and do not risk injuring the actors in case of impact or falls. Moreover, being completely without firing mechanisms, they can be collected without any license. In this case we have a replica of the assault rifle used by Tom Cruise/Jack Harper in the science fiction film Oblivion, set in 2077. The weapon used in the movie is actually a Bushmaster ACR assault rifle with a full shell, faux scope and an Everady flashlight integrated into the shell. A few decals with odd lettering give the futuristic touch to an all in all fairly austere prop weapon, somewhat reminiscent of the futuristic H&K G11. The rifle comes with a framed, autographed photo of Cruise as Harper. Also included in the lot is a board containing several magnets and covered in gray tape, labelled "gun side" and "Tom side" and was worn by Cruise underneath his stage costume to keep the gun secured to his back. It shows light wear from production use and the flashlight no longer works. Dimensions: 83 x 7 x 25 cm. The starting price of this lot is £6000 (approximately €7000).
Laser rifle from the legendary Bond movie "Moonraker"
Lot 201 is a laser rifle that appeared in Lewis Gilbert's film Moonraker (1979), starring Roger Moore as James Bond. The laser rifles were wielded by the US space marines and Drax's (Michael Lonsdale) space station guards during a battle in space. A rifle was also one of the gadgets tested in Q's workshop located in a Brazilian monastery.
Based on an IMI Uzi submachine gun, the laser rifle is heavily customized and painted white. It is made mostly of polyurethane foam, with additional plastic and metal components, including a curious grated sight. The space weapon is decorated with silver stripes at the front and also features red stripe decals. Since the space guns in the film were not supposed to fire blank ammunition, but laser beams added in post-production, the "prop guns" in the film were made by modifying simple plastic toy guns.
Presented on a custom-made display stand, the space gun shows signs of age and production use, including cracks and paint wear. Some of the decals are peeling off in places and the two selector switch components above the grip are loose. Dimensions (displayed on stand): 49.5 x 13 x 33 cm. The starting price of this 007 memorabilia is £8000, about 9500 euros.
Thompson M1 submachine gun from the Spielberg movie "Saving Private Ryan" used by Tom Hanks
A real, albeit deactivated, weapon up for auction is the Thompson M1 submachine gun used by Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg's film Saving Private Ryan, unanimously considered one of the best and most realistic war films ever made.
The story of this prop gun is worth telling. Actor Tom Hanks personally picked it early in the film's production, intentionally choosing the thirteenth gun lined up along the rack in the production's armoury. On the wooden front grip, just next to the front sling swivel, the actor hand wrote "A13” with a black marker pen. When filming began on the TV series Band of Brothers, produced by Hanks and Spielberg, Colin Hanks – Tom's son – chose the exact same weapon as his father, to play the role of Lieutenant Henry Jones.
The submachine gun features a web sling and it is likely that the current magazine is not the same one used during production. The Thompson comes directly from the production armourer and includes a letter describing its history, as well as a deactivation certificate and the original plastic tag from the armory. The piece has some wear from extensive production use and age, as well as intentional distress applied to make it look well-used and worn. There are scuffs and scratches all over the weapon, especially on the wood parts, but then again...it survived D-Day. The starting price for this lot is £6000 (approximately 7000 euros).
Colibri wooden model: Agent 007 "The Man with the Golden Gun" starring Roger Moore in 1974
This wooden master model of Francisco Scaramanga's golden gun comes from the production of Guy Hamilton's 1974 film 007 - The Man with the Golden Gun, starring Roger Moore as James Bond. In the movie, the elusive hitman Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) used his golden gun – constructed from everyday items - to assassinate his victims.
This wooden model was made by Colibri, a company that primarily manufactures lighters and jewelry. Colibri is credited with making the iconic gun seen in the film, though there are different stories about its origins. One states that special effects expert John Stears made the gun from parts produced by both Colibri and pen manufacturer Waterman.
Another, told by the film's art director Peter Lamont, states that he designed and made an alternative wooden template as the Colibri-built gun was poorly constructed and tended to fall apart while being handled. Lamont then hired a London silversmith to make the three screen-used guns. According to Lamont, although Colibri made a number of high-quality gold guns for promotional purposes, none of them were featured in the film. However, Stears' story and Colibri's official credit on the production dispute this.
What is certain is that at the end of production, the model was given to one of the set designers who had designed Scaramanga's kitchen.
The model is built from several wooden pieces glued together. It is accompanied by its original envelope, with the handwritten inscription "Fragile Handle With Care – 007 Golden Gun Mock-Up/Property of 'Colibri'" in red ink on the front. The gun model has only minor wear from production use and age, and is very fragile, while the envelope has creasing, small tears and stains. Dimensions (gun): 25.5 x 13 x 1 cm. The starting price of this little piece of action movie history is £4000, about 4750 euros.
Heckler & Koch USP Match pistols: Blade II
A pair of "stunt guns" wielded by Blade (Wesley Snipes) in Guillermo del Toro's action-horror sequel Blade II (2002). Vampire hunter Blade uses his guns throughout the film, particularly in a breathtaking sequence where he battles vampires swarming in the sewers of the city of Prague.
Made of dense rubber, both firearms are modified versions of the Heckler & Koch USP Match pistols in 9x19mm caliber. Each has a rail-like attachment between the trigger guard and dust cover, which is finished with silver paint to replicate aluminum. The make and model of each gun is engraved on the slide and its textured grip, and a dummy laser pointer and light are fitted under the barrel on both guns. The pistols show light wear from production use, and there is a crack on one of the triggers. Dimensions (each gun): 24 x 3.5 x 13.5 cm. Again, these are inert guns with no firing mechanisms or movable parts. The starting price for the pair is £3000 (about 3500 euros).
Heckler & Koch USP Match pistols: "Tomb Raider, the Cradle of Life"
Thanks to its futuristic and flashy appearance, the Heckler & Koch USP Match pistol is often used by prop gunsmiths as a base for good and bad guys' weapons. Even the pair of pistols wielded by Angelina Jolie/Lara Croft in the movie Tomb Raider, the Cradle of Life is based on two USP Match pistols.
Finished in faux-gold paint, the guns are based on UHC aisoft pistols, and were used as stand-ins when no live-fire scenes were required. One of the guns features a custom extended slide release on the right side for use with Lara's left hand. Both guns have a moving trigger, slide and hammer, though the magazines are glued into the grip, with the H&K logo visible in several places. The pair comes with a leather holster fitted with loops to attach it to the belt and leg. Both pistols show signs of wear from production use, including scratches, chips and marks, and the paint has worn off in places, most notably around the grip. One of the pistols has chipping around the bottom of the grip and the end of the barrel. Dimensions (each gun): 23.5 x 15 x 4.5 cm. The starting price for this pair of pistols is £3000 pounds (about 3500 euros).
We have focused on firearms, but the auction organized by Prop Store offers movie fans many objects that have entered the pop imagination thanks to the big screen, from the "Wilson" volleyball, the only companion of Tom Hanks in Cast Away to the Eagle Transporters from the TV series Space 1999, the helmet worn by Russell Crowe in The Gladiator to the bowler hat of Special Agent John Steed.
We leave you the pleasure of browsing the auction online catalog of movie props that reserves many surprises. As always we will keep you updated on the results: stay tuned!