Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace
From Walsall with love
By Scott Faulkner
James Bond fan Robin Harbour has been collecting 007 memorabilia ever since he saw Goldfinger in 1964. Now, 45 years on, he's proudly showing off part of his collection of more than 5,000 items at Walsall Library & Museum.
'I think he got the point!'
The name’s Harbour, Robin Harbour.
He’s the man, the man with the collector’s touch.
And judging by his collection it seems he’s got ‘goldfingers’, too, as his hoard of more than 5,000 James Bond items is worth thousands of pounds.
Even the last three digits of the 56-year-old's home and mobile phone numbers are 007!
A bit fruity
Visitors to Walsall Museum have the chance to ‘spy’ on Robin’s impressive Bond memorabilia that he’s taken 45 years to amass.
Robin’s interest in Bond began when aged 12 he started reading his father’s Ian Fleming books, including Dr No, Casino Royale and From Russia With Love.
Robin and the late Desmond Llewelyn
He then pestered his library into allowing him to borrow most of the Fleming books – even though he only had a junior ticket.
Aston Martin DB5
“The only one they wouldn’t let me take out was The Spy Who Loved Me, because it was a bit fruity,” he laughs.
Robin then began collecting Bond items as a boy in 1964 after his dad took him to see the third Bond film, Goldfinger, at the cinema.
His first purchase was a Corgi Aston Martin DB5.
'The closest I'll get to owning a DB5!'
“I remember coming away and thinking how good the film was and also wanting to see the other Bond films as soon as I could,” he explains.
One of seven children, with five brothers and a sister, bachelor Robin says his parents, Renald and Audrey, put up with his obsession as long as it didn’t make a mess.
"If I'd have had kids I dread to think what they'd have done with my toys," he jokes.
Roger Moore years
His extensive collection now includes nearly a thousand Bond books, hundreds of vintage models and toys, records, jigsaws, games, DVDs, baseball caps, posters, magazines, autographs and even socks and boxer shorts.
Some of Robin's Bond toys
“My collection slowed down when I was out of work and during the Roger Moore years because to me he was The Saint and not James Bond and he was too slapstick in the role,” says the accounts clerk, who has turned a room in his two-bedroom flat into a shrine to Bond.
“I was without a job for five years at one stage but I’ve never been tempted to sell items in my collection because it would only cost me twice as much to buy things back," he remarks.
"To me my collection's priceless.”
'How much for my Citroen?'
Unfortunately, his wallet does not extend to owning a real Aston Martin as he makes do with a blue Citroen Saxo.
“It’s not quite a Vantage but it’s a lot less juicy on the fuel than one,” says Robin, who was born in Erdington, Birmingham, but now lives in Willenhall.
“But if money was no object I’d love to own a DB5 with all of the guns and the ejector seat!”
Over the years Robin has met many of the stars of the films and gathered autographs from 007 actor George Lazenby, Goldfinger's Shirley Eaton, who appeared covered from head to feet in gold leaf, Tanya Roberts (Stacey Sutton in A View To a Kill), Blanche Ravalec (Dolly - Jaws' girlfriend - in Moonraker) and Tania Mallet (Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger).
Robin with Bond girl Britt Ekland
His two favourite films are From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as he says they both closely follow the books.
“I’d like to meet Sean Connery as he is still the best James Bond,” says Robin.
“I didn’t like the idea behind Casino Royale but I have to admit I enjoyed the film and Daniel Craig's performance as Bond but I wasn’t overly keen on Quantum of Solace.”
Robin's passion for all things Bond has led him to develop an unrivalled knowledge of the franchise, and his expertise is frequently called upon by researchers and the media.
Shirley Eaton from Goldfinger
He has assisted with numerous Bond-themed events and displays, including the establishment of the new Bond Museum in Keswick.
"We're delighted to put on display some of the items in Robin's collection,” says Jennifer Thomson, community history curator at Walsall Museum.
The James Bond display is on show in the Your Corner area of the Museum's gallery The Changing Face of Walsall, from Friday 28 August 2009 until Saturday 17 October 2009.
last updated: 14/09/2009 at 09:00
Have Your Say
Tell us your favourite James Bond moment: