One of the top selling lots at the recent Photographica sale at Chiswick Auctions was a rare set of 100 Victorian stereo (3D) cards, "China Through the Stereoscope" by Underwood & Underwood. Complete with a guide book and a set of eight maps showing the location of each image, it included views of Hong Kong, The Forbidden City, street scenes, and criminals being punished among other scenes. Guided at a modest £200-£250 it was keenly fought over by several collectors, ending with a battle between two international telephone bidders. When Tim Goldsmith, Photographic Consultant at Chiswick Auctions, informed the vendor of the final sale price (£3,200, including buyer's premium) he remarked that he had forgotten it was sale day as he had been looking after his grandchildren. “I think this will pay for me to take them both off on holiday this coming summer” he added.
One of the first lots in the sale was a sought-after Compass sub-miniature camera. Although designed by an Englishman just prior to WWII, it was so complicated, or fiendish as some collectors say, that it had to be manufactured by Jaeger Le Coulter, the famous Swiss watch company. Difficult to find today, this example was unusual as all of its myriad functions were marked in German, which probably helped the camera to take £2,600, including buyer's premium.
Another top quality British camera was the Peregrine III coupled-rangefinder camera. Made by Kershaw, who named all of their cameras after birds, this was the top of their range and is still a usable camera today. It made £2,200, including buyer's premium.
One of the most attractive lots in the sale was a large biunial (twin lens) magic lantern which sold for £3,750, including buyer's premium. One of several magic lanterns in the sale, it had retained most of its original fittings, including the gas-powered illumination system. The lantern was complete and, remarkably, still housed in its original wooden crate, marked W Brooke, Birkenshaw. The town of Birkenshaw is in West Yorkshire, very close to where the vendor lives and from where his father purchased the lantern many years ago, so it is possible that until now it had never travelled very far.
Leica cameras and lenses proved as popular as ever with an early 2.8cm Hektor wide-angle lens for rangefinder cameras making £1,200 (including buyer's premium). The serial number indicated it was manufactured in 1935, making it an early example from the first production batch.
In what is becoming a feature of the sale, it was not just for lovers of old or collectible items; it featured the contents from a large, recently closed-down, photographic studio. The studio equipment included an extensive digital Hasselblad outfit comprising a Hasselblad H6D body which hammered at £7,500 and a wide range of Hasselblad lenses and accessories that made a total of over £15,000 (including buyer's premium).
We are now accepting consignments for our next Photographica Auction, which is taking place on Friday 15 July at 12pm.
If you're interested in consigning an item, get in touch with our specialist Austin Farahar, email@example.com.