Gadgets spies used pre Bond from WW2 bladed coins to hidden daggers

The gadgets spies used before James Bond was even born: Concealed weapons and escape items used by British operatives in WW2 – from bladed coins to a dagger hidden in a Gillette razor – go up for auction

  • A collection of Pre- James Bond  spy gadgets used in WW2 have gone on auction
  • The collection includes deadly daggers, bladed coins and concealed compasses
  • The authentic collection could go for as much as £5000 under the hammer 

A collection of cunningly crafted secret weapons and escape items used by British spies during World War Two has been tipped to sell for £5000 at auction.

In scenes reminiscent of a classic James Bond adventure, the ingenious armoury contains tiny deadly daggers, bladed coins and amazing concealed compasses hidden in pipes.

And just like in Bond, every item being sold looks perfectly innocuous at first glance. 

The beautiful design is why they were undetected when carried by secret operatives and airmen behind enemy lines.

The collection were designed to be used by Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents and PoWs to overcome German guards – and their attention to detail means they were chillingly effective.

A two-shilling coin, with a concealed blade dated 1942 (right), and a German Third Reich 50 Reichspfennig coin (left)

The collection includes an assassination punch dagger concealed in a gentleman’s Gillette razor kit

This Bakelite pipe unscrews to reveal a small compass concealed to the mouthpiece

Among the items is a fountain pen which unscrews to reveal a four sided blade 5ins long ‘assassination dagger’.

This is one of the most expensive items going under the hammer – being valued at £900.

Elsewhere a Gillette brass razor kit concealing a 7ins long dagger blade in its handle could fetch £700.

The blade has been concealed in the fountain pen

The British engineers also found ways to make ordinary coins lethal.

A 1942 two shilling coin, carrying the face of George VI, has a concealed blade which pops out of it and there is also a German Third Reich coin with a blade on the reverse.

The collection also includes less lethal contraptions such as an SOE-issued Bakelite that unscrews to reveal a tiny 5mm compass concealed in the mouthpiece.

It’s thought the gadget would have helped escaped PoWs evade capture and is estimated at £800.

A seemingly unremarkable key, valued at £500, has a removable screw tip with a hollowed out core to insert a small message.

One escape compass is enclosed within the stub of a 1.5ins long pencil.

The single owner collection of about 10 lots, put together by a British militaria collector, is going under the hammer with auctioneers Sworders, of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.

Otto Billström, Sworders specialist, said: “The items have come from a single owner collection and were acquired by the militaria collector in the last five to 10 years.

“They were carried by anyone who found themselves behind enemy lines to try and evade capture, or smuggled into PoW camps.

“My favourite item is the pipe which contains a tiny 5mm compass hidden in its mouthpiece. It is such an impressive way to conceal it.”

The sale takes place on February 7.

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