A pair of cufflinks owned by James Bond author Ian Fleming which feature a spy-like secret code was sold at auction for more than £4,000.
The 007 creator wore the cultured pearl set to the Dr No post-film screening party in 1962.
The backs of the cufflinks are inscribed with the letters ‘WUS’, ‘SIL’, ‘UDH’ and ‘NUF’ – believed to represent a so-far unsolved secret message.
They were set to fetch £800 at auction but sold for £4,400 to an unknown bidder at Mallams auctioneers in Oxford.
Its listing read: ‘Surely a perfect code-breaking mission for any aspiring spies out there.’
Bond was introduced in the 1952 novel Casino Royale and so captured the public’s imagination.
These circular cufflinks, which come to Mallams by family descent, are sure to prove popular with James Bond enthusiasts and carry an estimate of £800-£1,200.’
During his service in the Naval Intelligence Division, Fleming drew up a plan to capture a German Enigma codebook by hijacking a Nazi rescue boat, according to an article published in the Literary James Bond Magazine.
The plan – which he laid out in a memo to the Director of Naval Intelligence on September 12 1940 – involved crashing a captured German plane into the Channel, thereby attracting a Nazi recue boat to the scene, which Fleming hoped would have a book onboard with the key to cracking the Enigma code.
Fleming’s code-cracking plan, named ‘Operation Ruthless’, was ultimately never carried out due to logistical issues with it – for example, the ‘fake’ German bomber Fleming wanted to crash into the Channel would have floated, putting the disguised crew inside the Trojan horse at high risk of being detected before they could hijack the German rescue boat that was scrambled to save them.
In total, Fleming wrote 14 Bond books which have sold over 100 million copies worldwide. He died in 1964.