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Topic: Vintage Bond Props

Le Cercle Dr No Vintage Casino Plaques

For many years, far more than I care to remember, my “Holy Grail” was the Le Cercle gaming plaques seen in Dr No. Why? Here is where it all started. Here, Connery made that iconic introduction, “Bond, James Bond”.  For sheer coolness, it was the “gambling scene to end all gambling scenes”. Ha, perhaps I exaggerate.

For a long time I thought these plaques were studio made props. Even though I knew Le Cercle was part of Les Ambassadeurs, I could not find out anything about these plaques. I occasionally came across Le Cercle round jetons amongst casino collectors but never the rectangular high denomination plaques.

Luckily I had a friend in the casino collecting line. After I found out he was also an Elvis fan, he became a “great friend”! Garin helped me with a number of very interesting finds over many years. Then things went quiet – I had almost reached casino collecting saturation point. Then Garin called me out of the blue one day last year saying he was driving across the UK to buy up the garage stuff from the family of John Mills. He wasn’t sure what he was buying until he got there to poke around. John Mills was the businessman who started Le Cercle, initially in Hanover Place before moving the club to Hamilton Place in 1950. It was in this location where the exterior shots were taken for Dr No. All the interiors shots were recreated in the studios – there are a number of studio drawings done by Ken Adams of the Le Cercle sets. John Mills ran the club until 1981 when it was sold off.

I guess the reason I could not find any Le Cercle rectangular plaques was because the place was a private gentleman’s club. There was only a small clientele reducing the chances of any casino collectibles finding their way out, unlike the situation for large casinos catering to the masses.

It took Garin a number of weeks before he got back to me. He was “delirious” with joy with his unexpected discoveries. The Mills garage was stuffed with virtually all the vintage club items…but they needed a good cleaning.  There were the rectangular plaques, roulette jetons, table signs, photographs, card shoes, building signs, etc.

Another few weeks later, Garin got in touch again, this time reporting he could put together many sets of the vintage plaques and jetons. This discovery allowed him to even estimate the number of plaques in the manufacture runs. But due to deterioration especially in the early older plaques the actual numbers available to us collectors are a lot less then what was used on the gaming tables.

Garin was so good to reserve a fantastic set of the original plaques seen in Dr No for me. So now I knew the answer to that burning question of so long ago. The screen seen plaques must have been loaned by Le Cercle to Danjaq for filming. There were not manufactured props as I originally thought.

Garin told me that due to the poor storage conditions of the garage, there was a lot of damage to the items. But he was able to salvage many fine items. After great personal expense, he now has the best collection of Le Cercle memorabilia anywhere. Given the reputation of Le Cercle/Les Ambassadeurs, the collection is almost historic in nature.

Garin’s screen seen plaques are numbered, been engraved into the acrylic surfaces – unlike the inked in numbers of some replicas. The plaques are pearlescent, similar to the Casino Royale plaques of recent times for those who have seen these.

When Garin sent these to me I was leaving for my Christmas holidays. It took nearly two months before I was able to pick them up from my brother, who collected my post. And when I opened the parcel finally, finally, finally – they were pieces of such exquisiteness – my jaw dropped, dropped, dropped.

These now take pride of place in my collection. They sit alongside the vintage wooden casino shoe as seen on the green baize in Dr No. The sterling silver Dunhill lighter keeps them company.

Garin – you are fantastic.                                               

I would encourage anyone with an interest in the good vintage stuff to get in touch with Garin as you would not get access to such a good source with such excellent provenance.

p/s Garin is an Elvis fan – as I said earlier – however, this little quest of his has turned him into something of a Bond fan – he is keeping the “0077” numbered plaques – ARGGHHHH!

p/ss There is an interesting collecting crossover - for those who are also Beatles fans, in the film “Hard Day’s Night” they actually filmed inside Le Cercle – there are lots of close-ups of the 5 pound plaque that is part of the set of the Dr No screen seen plaques.

Last edited by qbvi (10th Feb 2020 11:34)

A Whisper of Love, A Whisper of Hate

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

I second a lot of what’s been said above - the plaques are a superb link to Dr No, a worthy and definitive addition to any Bond fan’s collection and Garin is fantastic to do business with.

As Elvis might have sang: “Wise men say, only fools don’t rush to buy these plaques”  ajb007/lol

Japanese proverb say, "Bird never make nest in bare tree".

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

I concur, the plaques are outstanding!  Below is a not-so-good picture of the display I put together.  It really is a holy grail in my collection!


https://i.postimg.cc/JHwb8Wr4/IMG-20200210-2228416.jpg

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Thank you for the glowing reviews and I'm so happy that the people who have taken the plunge are all pleased with them. To me, that is the most important thing with something like these, to get them to the right homes.
The 0007s may well be offered incidentally Sidney but not sure at the moment so...............testing the waters.
To all who have splashed out, again, thank you.
Take care, have fun and I hope that you will all get many years of enjoyment out of them.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

One last chance to show some of the other stuff off so..................

https://i.postimg.cc/wys4nmNn/IMG-3879.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/fVT2DFXc/IMG-5064.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/8FxtdzY4/Ties.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/gnM5XmGS/IMG-3833.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/kVWfcmdd/Token-500-1.jpg

Hope the pictures are enjoyed.................

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

DrNoPlaques wrote:

One last chance to show some of the other stuff off so..................

https://i.postimg.cc/wys4nmNn/IMG-3879.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/fVT2DFXc/IMG-5064.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/8FxtdzY4/Ties.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/gnM5XmGS/IMG-3833.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/kVWfcmdd/Token-500-1.jpg

Hope the pictures are enjoyed.................

Great photos Dr, what are the various items shown?

Japanese proverb say, "Bird never make nest in bare tree".

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Smithers500 wrote:
DrNoPlaques wrote:

One last chance to show some of the other stuff off so..................

https://i.postimg.cc/wys4nmNn/IMG-3879.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/fVT2DFXc/IMG-5064.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/8FxtdzY4/Ties.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/gnM5XmGS/IMG-3833.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/kVWfcmdd/Token-500-1.jpg

Hope the pictures are enjoyed.................

Great photos Dr, what are the various items shown?

Table signs from the casino, same type as used in the film but probably later.
Le Cercle sign from outside and off a column we think.
6 different Les A ties.
Les A sign from the entrance to their garden (again we believe), one of a pair.
Lastly a £500 metal token.
All great items and just to help show the provenance of the other stuff.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Great to see these thanks Doctor!

Japanese proverb say, "Bird never make nest in bare tree".

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Smithers500 wrote:

Great to see these thanks Doctor!

Thanks, glad you liked them and thanks again for your continued interest.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Glad to see we “have at least two things in common”

Bond and Elvis.....

As Elvis would have said, “Here’s to taking care of business”.

Smithers500 wrote:

I second a lot of what’s been said above - the plaques are a superb link to Dr No, a worthy and definitive addition to any Bond fan’s collection and Garin is fantastic to do business with.

As Elvis might have sang: “Wise men say, only fools don’t rush to buy these plaques”  ajb007/lol

A Whisper of Love, A Whisper of Hate

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

That’s a top notch display. Like the write up below. I haven’t decided how to display yet. You certainly worked fast. Did you rubber cement the plaques to the backing?


AufingerFan wrote:

I concur, the plaques are outstanding!  Below is a not-so-good picture of the display I put together.  It really is a holy grail in my collection!


https://i.postimg.cc/JHwb8Wr4/IMG-20200210-2228416.jpg

A Whisper of Love, A Whisper of Hate

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Thanks, qbvi.  Even though I consider the display to be permanently mounted, such that I won't pull the plaques out to play with them, they are rubber cemented so they could be removed if necessary, hopefully with minimal damage.

qbvi wrote:

That’s a top notch display. Like the write up below. I haven’t decided how to display yet. You certainly worked fast. Did you rubber cement the plaques to the backing?


AufingerFan wrote:

I concur, the plaques are outstanding!  Below is a not-so-good picture of the display I put together.  It really is a holy grail in my collection!


https://i.postimg.cc/JHwb8Wr4/IMG-20200210-2228416.jpg

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Most definitely in my top five Bond props  ajb007/martini

Big thanks to Garin  ajb007/martini

https://i.postimg.cc/Zq1nqksc/PLAQUES.jpg

One of us smells like a tart's handkerchief.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

ACACIA_AVENUE wrote:

Most definitely in my top five Bond props  ajb007/martini

Big thanks to Garin  ajb007/martini

https://i.postimg.cc/Zq1nqksc/PLAQUES.jpg

Well done AA
ajb007/martini

A Whisper of Love, A Whisper of Hate

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Finally got around to posting some pics of the Dr No plaques along with the Dr No casino shoe. Thanks Garin for the plaques.

https://i.postimg.cc/06Z1HchV/FA2-E7-CF7-EFD3-4348-9112-C3-A2-D43-BA990.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/SjMtngVH/875677-DB-5-B31-4317-8313-D6-FE5-C6-DD84-F.jpg

Last edited by qbvi (15th Feb 2020 02:11)

A Whisper of Love, A Whisper of Hate

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

They all look pretty impressive I must say and it was my pleasure to deal with all of you.
I'm just pleased that you are all happy with them and they will be cherished for many years.
Take care, have fun and enjoy...................

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

The best matched set of 5 is now up for sale (0049 or 007 squared). They are the best conditioned matched set I have and I'd hoped to get them to EON, Les Ambassadeurs or maybe even Daniel Craig but doubt that'll happen so............Also 0002 and 0007 (later sets) up for offer on ebay too.
I doubt they'll sell but would rather show them off (and maybe give people the chance to own them) and hey, you never know, stranger things have happened.

https://i.postimg.cc/HJYMjGTD/0049-low-1.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/YLWGTMzg/0049-low-2.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/TKGLH8LL/0049-EX-1.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/QKJsFzXw/0049-EX-2.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/FY8R521V/0049-Matching-set-EX-3.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/BtnGpmnS/0049-Matching-set-EX-4.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/LY0QNBx5/0049-Matching-set-perfect-1.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/0b10xBKx/0049-Matching-set-perfect-2.jpg

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Superb! Thanks for posting Doctor!

Japanese proverb say, "Bird never make nest in bare tree".

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

My pleasure Smithers, thanks for the comments.
Anybody who has more than a passing interest in these should have a quick search on Ebay as many different grades are up now including the 0007 £10 so.................
Sets are priced from £250 up to matched best set (£3000).
Offers are invited obviously, just message me here if any of interest. If in the US there is a sales tax if bought on ebay, just so you know.
I hope to hear from at least a couple of you so good luck, have fun and keep on collecting.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Cheers Doctor, PM sent.

Japanese proverb say, "Bird never make nest in bare tree".

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Hi Garin, items received quickly and safely, thank you.

Once again I’m over the moon with these and your level of customer service has been second to none! ajb007/martini

As soon as I get these framed and displayed I’ll post you some pics!

Japanese proverb say, "Bird never make nest in bare tree".

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Smithers500 wrote:

Hi Garin, items received quickly and safely, thank you.

Once again I’m over the moon with these and your level of customer service has been second to none! ajb007/martini

As soon as I get these framed and displayed I’ll post you some pics!

My pleasure, I look forward to seeing your display. Thanks again, have fun and enjoy.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Slight tangent:
Would anyone have any idea what brand or other identifying information there is for the card shoe used in the scene?
There are quite a number of them around but so far not found one with the distinctive metal trim.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

PoorMansJB wrote:

Slight tangent:
Would anyone have any idea what brand or other identifying information there is for the card shoe used in the scene?
There are quite a number of them around but so far not found one with the distinctive metal trim.

Apart from it being a "Caro" shoe as I'm sure 2 or 3 others can confirm, that's all I know, sorry.

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Re: Vintage Bond Props

Looking at the two shoes I have, they are not identified as in model serial number. But each one bears a number which could be the casino imprint. On the side is a plaque which you look for as a chemin de fer card draw guide. This differentiates these shoes from the blackjack ones. I found my shoes from Australia....a looong way from France. Took me years.


PoorMansJB wrote:

Slight tangent:
Would anyone have any idea what brand or other identifying information there is for the card shoe used in the scene?
There are quite a number of them around but so far not found one with the distinctive metal trim.

A Whisper of Love, A Whisper of Hate