Real-life James Bond gadget manual sold at auction for 5k pounds
London, Feb 2 : A book containing ingenious James Bond-style gadgets invented by British "spooks" to help prisoners of war escape has been sold at an auction for over 5,000 pounds.
The 1942 classified catalogue documents the top secret designs for covert equipment such as tiny compasses concealed in gold teeth and coat buttons, the Telegraph reported.
Many of the inventions were the brainchild of Christopher Hutton who worked for the government's little-known MI9 agency and was a real-life 'Q' from the 007 movies.
Less than 100 of the instruction manuals were printed and given to US intelligence officers, who were way behind the British in espionage design after entering the war late.
The 76 page book details what the gadgets were, how they were made and concealed in innocuous domestic items.
The gadgets were placed in food parcels and sent to British PoWs in camps like Colditz or the 'Great Escape' prison, Stalag Luft III.
Some of the fascinating gadgets include maps of Germany printed on silk, so that they didn't rustle and crammed inside pencils, vinyl records, cigars and pipes.
Another map was hidden under the surface of 54 playing cards that, when pieced together, formed a large map of Germany and Europe.
Small hacksaws were secreted in dart boards while a tiny camera was hidden inside a cigarette lighter and small radio receivers in cigar boxes.
The extremely rare copy of the book called 'Per Ardua Libertas' - Liberty Through Adversity - was a dummy version retained by the London printing company.
It was sold at auction by a Devon man who inherited it from one of the executives of the company and purchased by a private collector from Canada.
Lionel Willis, a specialist at auctioneers Bonhams which has sold the book, said it was an exceptionally rare find.
"There was a great deal of interest in the MI9 catalogue, with competition driving the overall price to over 5,000 pounds," he said.
According to Willis, MI9 produced this book to give to the Americans, and probably less than 100 were printed.
Very few of these catalogues are known to have survived, with the Australian War Museum having a copy, she said.