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Collector Extraordinaire

26th February 2024

Ahead of auctioning his impressive Bond collection, Steve Oxenrider reflects on half a century of collecting 007

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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With the auction of his groundbreaking collection of Bond stills at Amplifyd, Steve Oxenrider spoke to MI6 about more than a half-century of collecting Bond merchandise and original production materials. A sample of the stills from the Oxenrider collection are available for purchase now.

What was your first James Bond experience?
A 1965 re-issue of 'Dr. No' / 'From Russia With Love' at the local drive-in movie theater.  But, what really hooked me and got me into collecting was the November 1965 television special 'The Incredible World of James Bond', with a preview of the forthcoming 'Thunderball' and retro clips from the first three Bond films. The Bond phenomenon was at its peak that Christmas and stores were flooded with James Bond toys, games, clothing, toiletries, records and other merchandise.  It started, innocently, with collecting the series of James Bond trading cards from Philadelphia Chewing Gum.  Then I found owning stills was a tangible remembrance of the movie you could take out and look at any time again and again. This was decades before video or DVD.

Director Terrence Young on location for Thunderbolt - taken from the Steve Oxenrider James Bond Action

Do you have an all-time favourite film. Do you have an all-time favourite Bond film?
Not a favorite film but more so a year – 1959 – with the releases of 'House on Haunted Hill', 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' and 'The Mummy,' three of my absolute favorites. The excitement, horror and adventure had a tremendous impact on me as a child and later, a bit more mature, I really appreciated films like 'Sunset Boulevard', 'Niagara' and 'Psycho'.

Of the James Bond films, my favorite is either 'Goldfinger' or 'Thunderball', depending on which one I’m watching at the moment. Unsurpassed Bond entertainment!

How long have you been collecting 007 materials?
58 years.  Although I’m selling my collection mostly through auctions and some private sales, I will always continue to collect the rare stills, posters, autographs, and so on.

What's a tip you could pass on to Bond collectors just getting started?
Research auction websites Ewbank’s, eMovie Poster, Heritage Auctions, eBay to see what’s available and current price estimates. Through forums or blogs get in touch with trusted established, older collectors that might have material to sell or trade. Focus on one particular item that you’re looking for and how much you want to invest. Exchanging wish or wants lists of items is helpful as well as placing ads in film-related publications.  Collectors’ shows often offer movie memorabilia. I’m guilty, I never did it, but authenticate your purchases with receipts and date and origin of purchase. You never know how long you will keep your collection and memory may not serve you well later.

What is your prized collectable?
For sentimental, nostalgic reasons I suppose my stills, souvenir program books, autographs and the opportunity to briefly know Lotte Lenya and Harold Sakata. I started collecting black and white stills almost immediately, from mail-order film shops in New York, Miami and Los Angeles in the 1960s. It wasn’t until several years later that I discovered contact sheets. I never collected for investment, but I really valued my contact sheets for 'From Russia With Love' and 'Thunderball'.  I’ve reprinted a lot of my stills in quest of rare autographs.  You’d be surprised how many stars have never seen movie stills or rare images of their appearance in a Bond film.  It’s always a pleasure and great personal satisfaction to share stills of their work.  Studio and location call sheets for much of the production of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' is another of my cherished items.

Contact Sheet from From Russia With Love - taken from the Steve Oxenrider James Bond Action

What should Bond fans be looking out for in your collection?
I think there’s something for every collector. Amplifyd’s teaser auction showcases some of the most sought-after collectibles. Whether it’s vinyl, stills and contacts sheets, call sheets and scripts there is a huge selection. Examine the individual frames of the contact sheets to discover some super-rare images of the production, cast and crew. The stills collection encompasses screen images, behind-the-scenes, publicity and promotion shots and art stills.

Richard Kiel on location for The Spy Who Loved Me - taken from the Steve Oxenrider James Bond Action

What has changed to make you want to sell your collection?
Illness... and maybe approaching my expiration date? As you get older I think you have to be realistic and realise that, indeed, you can’t take it with you. That’s why I entrusted the consignment of my stills and contact sheet collection to Dan Willis and his team at Amplifyd and my books, toys and everything else to Ewbank’s Auctions.  As a 007 enthusiast and collector himself, Dan has taken a meticulously detailed approach to curate, present, promote and auction my collection of over 8,000 James Bond stills and contact sheets. I know ultimately they will find a new home in the archive of the appreciative fan and collector.

Bidding in the Steve Oxenrider James Bond collection - 'Teaser Auction' is open until 4 March. Amplifyd will then carry one auction per Bond film in Oxenrider's impressive collection. Stay tuned to Amplifyd for more.

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