To coincide with the release of 'No Time To Die' we explore the international man of mystery on stamps.

The next instalment of James Bond will soon be released in cinemas across the country after its release date was postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic. No Time To Die sees Bond out of the secret service enjoying his life in Jamaica. However, when an old friend from the CIA comes asking for help he is drawn back into his dangerous life. The film features Daniel Craig as Bond, Ralph Fiennes as ‘M’ (the head of MI6) and a return of the character Madeleine Swann from Spectre, played by Léa Seydoux.

A sheet consisting of ten stamps and ten labels that depict images of Bond and other characters from the film 'No Time to Die'.

No Time To Die, Collectors Sheet, 2020.

Bond

So, who was James Bond? James Bond was born in the early 1920s and orphaned at the age of 11. He went to school at Eton College and during the Second World War became part of the secret service. As a member of MI6 he was given a licence to kill and the code name ‘007’. You can see his code name in the perforations of the 2020 miniature sheet below.

Stamp of Bond next to car with the numbers '007' in the perforation in the bottom right corner.

Stamp with ‘007’ perforation, 2020.

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming was inspired to write Bond after his time in Naval Intelligence during the Second World War. Fleming wrote the first adventures of Bond from his home Goldeneye in Jamaica, the name of which would later become a Bond film with Pierce Brosnan. He was an avid bird watcher and had in his possession a copy of Birds of the West Indies by James Bond. It was here that he acquired the name for his leading man.

Illustrated image of Ian Fleming with playing cards, vehicles and a train.

Inside James Bond Presentation Pack, 2008.

Flemings first novel Casino Royale was published in 1953. In total, he wrote 12 novels and 9 short stories about Bond, though since his death numerous other authors have gone on to create stories for the character. A series of books have also been produced looking at Young Bond appealing to a teenage audience. The Bond book covers were celebrated in a 2008 stamp issue. The stamps look at Casino Royale, Dr No, Diamonds are Forever, Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only and From Russia with Love.

1st NVI, Casino Royal, James Bond, 2008
1st NVI, Casino Royal, James Bond, 2008
1st NVI, Dr No, James Bond, 2008
1st NVI, Dr No, James Bond, 2008
54p, Diamonds are Forever, James Bond, 2008
54p, Diamonds are Forever, James Bond, 2008
54p, Goldfinger, James Bond, 2008
54p, Goldfinger, James Bond, 2008
78p, For Your Eyes Only, James Bond, 2008
78p, For Your Eyes Only, James Bond, 2008
78p, From Russia with Love, James Bond, 2008
78p, From Russia with Love, James Bond, 2008

Gadgets

The character of ‘Q’ never featured in Flemings books, instead, he refers to ‘Q Branch’ where Bond would be supplied with the latest gadgets and vehicles. The character is most recognisably played by Desmond Llewelyn who was in 17 Bond films though in more recent years the role has been filled by Ben Whishaw.

Miniature sheet with four stamps featuring Bond with different technology.

Q Branch, James Bond, Miniature Sheet, 2020.

Films

The first Bond film was Dr No, the 6th book produced by Fleming. Bond was played by Sean Connery who would go on to portray the character in 7 films. The actors who have played Bond over the years featured in the 2020 Bond stamp issue with imagery from some of their iconic roles. Including George Lazenby’s only film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where the character’s marriage ends in tragic circumstances.

1st NVI, Daniel Craig, James Bond, 2020
1st NVI, Daniel Craig, James Bond, 2020
1st NVI, Pierce Brosnan, James Bond, 2020
1st NVI, Pierce Brosnan, James Bond, 2020
1st NVI, Timothy Dalton, James Bond, 2020
1st NVI, Timothy Dalton, James Bond, 2020
£1.60, Roger Moore, James Bond, 2020
£1.60, Roger Moore, James Bond, 2020
£1.60, George Lazenby, James Bond, 2020
£1.60, George Lazenby, James Bond, 2020
£1.60, Sean Connery, James Bond, 2020
£1.60, Sean Connery, James Bond, 2020

 

Bond has been a lasting movie franchise and it will be interesting to see how the role will develop and potential actors that may play Bond in the future. I for one am simply excited to get back into the cinema and enjoy a movie on the big screen.

– Georgina Tomlinson (Deputy Curator, Philately)

Sources: