Cameras and photographic equipment are among the fastest growing categories for Newbury saleroom Special Auction Services.
A department started only four years
ago had sales totalling £530,000 last year.
The firm's first stand-alone Photographica
sale was held on November 21 - close to 800 lots with a pre-sale
estimate of £92,000 that realised £152,000. Alongside an
established market for Leicas, the most buoyant area is the
esoteric area of camera lenses - some bought for display, but many
for use with modern digital still and video cameras.
The two best-selling lenses in this sale
were both by Dallmeyer, although made half a century apart.
Sold at £2700 was a 16in Edwardian lacquered
brass lens designed for taking the cabinet portrait.
The history of the soft focus lens really
began with the Anglo-German optician John Henry Dallmeyer (1830-83)
whose firm perfected the technology of lens manipulation for
By the turn of the 20th century Dallmeyer
were advertising four different models for portrait photographs
supplied in lacquered brass or black aluminium. This example,
inscribed with the serial number 71469 and the model number 3A, was
in good condition with the elements graded VG-E.
Although less obviously part of photographic
history, the Dallmeyer Super-Six Anastigmat lens - so-called
because it is formed of its six elements positioned in four groups
- is considered something of a period classic, in production in
different sizes and variants from roughly 1930-80.
Some examples can sell into five-figures and
at Special Auction Services a Super-Six 1½in lens with the serial
no. 524588 quadrupled hopes at £3200.
Also pictured here is an example of the
first full-scale production 35mm camera, the Homeos stereo camera,
produced by the Parisian instrument maker Jules Richard (1848-1930)
in 1913 and sold until 1920.
A Type 2 version with the serial number 153,
it was in reasonable condition, with matching stereoscopic mahogany
viewer and the maker's case, although the shutter was not currently
working. It sold at £1500.
The buyer's premium was 15%.