The group includes rare cameras and photographs as well as two rare Scioptic balls.
The private individual began collecting in 1973 and hopes members of the trade may be able to help spot some of the items if they are offered to them.
They were stolen from a unit at a storage company and many had been in a display case.
The theft is believed to have taken place between 9-11pm on April 19. The Metropolitan Police has been notified.
Anyone with information on this theft and the whereabouts of the stolen items should call 101 quoting the Metropolitan Police crime reference number 4908198/20 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Among the many items stolen are:
- Two detective cameras disguised as a pair of binoculars, c.1890 and c.1900.
- A Ticka detective camera disguised as a pocket watch, hands at seven minutes past eleven.
- Dr Kreugner detective camera disguised as a book, c.1890.
- An unusual very flat 7in (18cm) diameter circular camera, the Stirn, made of copper, c.1890.
- Five mahogany and brass bellows cameras by Watson, Sanderson etc, c.1900.
- A group of brass encased lenses, some engraved Ross, Goddard, Grubb, Harrison and Schnitzer, dating between 1850s-70s.
- Two small rare circular Scioptic balls incorporating two lenses set into rich brown lignum wood, c.1720.
- Various small cased portraits less than 6 x 4in (15 x 10cm) of men, women and a labourer. One stamped in gilt Claudet, Regent Street, London.
- A group of colour photographs on glass, portraits, scenes and still-life scenes. Some stamped A and L Lumiere.
- A group of small positives on glass of people and rural scenes in Ireland, c.1890, in a green solander box.
- Sepia photographs of Ireland, c.1890.
- A large framed black and white portrait of James Joyce, 3 x 2ft (90cm x 1.2m) with a large black frame signed by Berenice Abbott for the Tibet Fund.