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Copyright 2002 www.theherald.co.uk

[ January 10th 2002 ]

They propped up James Bond, Harry Potter and Kate Winslet. Now they are to stand alone in the biggest movie memorabilia auction. More than 1m worth of props used in some of the most famous films of the past 50 years - including the globe from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, ornaments which decorated M's office in several 007 films, and the coffin and skeleton from the opening sequence of the Rocky Horror Picture Show - are to be sold in March.

They are among more than 1500 objects being offered by the Ken Paul props company. Other recognisable pieces include the cuckoo clock which puzzled the natives in Out of Africa; a carved wooden Buddha used in Carry On Up the Khyber, Tomb Raider and Blade 2; the tortoiseshell hand mirror used by Kate Winslet in Titanic; and Nicole Kidman's snake candelabra from Portrait of a Lady.

However, anyone hoping to buy a major prop for the price of a cheap ticket in the back row, might be disappointed. The Harry Potter globe is expected to fetch up to 15,000, while a silver ship model from M's office is estimated at 5000 to 7000. The Carry On Buddha could make more than 10,000, although less iconic objects may fetch no more than 100.

The firm, based in Hampstead, north London, was set up in 1946 by the late Ken Paul, an antiques dealer whose circle of friends included actors, designers and film workers. One art director friend suggested using some of Mr Paul's antiques as props in The Elusive Pimpernel, starring David Niven.

Mr Paul subsequently became established as a supplier of quality props and enjoyed lucrative relationships with the makers of the Carry On films and the James Bond movies, which lasted for more than 20 years. His daughter, Christine, joined the firm in the early 1980s and took over running it with her sister after their father's death in 1989. She has now decided to retire and is selling the props at the three-day Sotheby's auction in London, starting on March 13.

Ms Paul said: "We have supplied props for literally thousands of sets. There's barely been a film made here during the past 50 years which has not had our stuff in it."

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