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Fake shrub with hidden camera and microphone will star in auction of James Bond-like spy gadgets


They are the kind of ingenious spy devices dished out to 007 by behind-the-scenes boffin Q in the James Bond films.

A gold ring containing a hidden camera, a recording device disguised as a packet of cigarettes and a briefcase that can copy classified documents.

But these are not the work of the fictitious MI6 quartermaster, whose tricky devices so often helps 007 out of a tight spot.

Instead, they are real Soviet spy devices developed during the Cold War. And they are set to go up for auction later this month.

The ingenious items could fetch up to £75,000 in total, experts predict.

Among the more unusual devices is a so-called ‘spy tree’ – a hollowed out piece of wood containing a camera.

The 64inch ‘spy shrub’, which could fetch up to £600 at auction, would have been used to discreetly monitor an enemy target.

The 64ins piece of shrubbery, estimated at a modest £600, would have been installed at outdoor locations

Among the more unusual items is a ‘spy tree’ – a hollowed out piece of wood containing a camera which can be used to discreetly monitor an enemy target. The 64ins piece of shrubbery, estimated at a modest £600, would have been installed at outdoor locations

The holes in the tree were filled with branches to look like the real thing, and it was inserted into the ground with a metal rod so it can be quickly yanked out and taken to safety

Spies would have installed recording devices inside the hollowed out piece of wood to eavesdrop on their enemies

The holes in the tree were filled with branches to look like the real thing, and it was inserted into the ground with a metal rod so it can be quickly yanked out and taken to safety. Spies would have installed recording devices inside the hollowed out piece of wood to eavesdrop on their enemies

Other items include a ring containing a hidden camera, valued at £9,000, which is set to go under the hammer.

The ring could have been used to discreetly record enemies

Other items include a ring containing a hidden camera, valued at £9,000, which is set to go under the hammer. The ring could have been used to discreetly record enemies

A John Player cigarette case with a concealed camera could sell for £5,000 when it goes up for auction

A John Player cigarette case with a concealed camera could sell for £5,000 when it goes up for auction

A document copying device contained inside a brief case that could be used to recreate top secret documents is also among the lot. It could sell for £2,400

A document copying device contained inside a brief case that could be used to recreate top secret documents is also among the lot. It could sell for £2,400

A Soviet spy RS-1000 device for locating secret hidden microphone "bugs." It includes a laptop, scanner, and software program on diskettes which help determine depth of hidden microphone

A Soviet spy RS-1000 device for locating secret hidden microphone “bugs.” It includes a laptop, scanner, and software program on diskettes which help determine depth of hidden microphone

A rare vintage Soviet spy "Pelikan" radio receiver with power supply, designed to intercept and eavesdrop on classified or illegal signals, comes with a microphone and a Morse code

A rare vintage Soviet spy “Pelikan” radio receiver with power supply, designed to intercept and eavesdrop on classified or illegal signals, comes with a microphone and a Morse code

It would have been installed at outdoor locations among real bushes.

The holes in the tree were filled with branches to look like the real thing, and it was inserted into the ground with a metal rod so it can be quickly yanked out and taken to safety.

Other items include a ring containing a hidden camera, valued at £9,000 and a John Player cigarette case with a concealed camera that could sell for £5,000.

A document copying device contained inside a briefcase that could be used to recreate top secret documents is also among the lot. It could sell for £2,400.

A radio receiver to pick up on classified signals, which comes with a microphone and a Morse code key, is tipped to make £1,500.

The items were amassed over 30 years by Lithuanian historian Julius Urbaitis who opened a KGB Espionage Museum in New York in 2019.

But Mr Urbaitis, who worked as a consultant on the hit TV series Chernobyl, was forced to close down and sell everything off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The items were amassed over 30 years by Lithuanian historian Julius Urbaitis (pictured) who opened a KGB Espionage Museum in New York in 2019

Mr Urbaitis, who worked as a consultant on the hit TV series Chernobyl, was forced to close down the museum (pictured) and sell everything off due to the coronavirus pandemic

The items were amassed over 30 years by Lithuanian historian Julius Urbaitis (pictured) who opened a KGB Espionage Museum in New York in 2019. Mr Urbaitis, who worked as a consultant on the hit TV series Chernobyl, was forced to close down and sell everything off due to the coronavirus pandemic

The sale of about 50 items, which also includes Soviet propaganda posters and a sculpture of Vladimir Lenin, will be conducted by Julien’s Auctions, of California, US.

Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions, said: ‘The public’s fascination with spies and espionage operations shown by the latest James Bond box office success will never die.

‘These incredible devices take us behind the iron curtain to reveal the secret lives of KGB agents and the specialised insight and ingenuity they possessed in order to develop these clever and often deadly gadgets.

‘This rare and important collection of KGB secret surveillance equipment and Cold War era devices have also never been shown in any Hollywood movie before and will greatly add to the cachet of any history buff and museum curator’s collection of documented and educational artefacts.’

The items are due to go to auction on October 25. 



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