Published: March 14, 2006
The third sale of cameras from the collection of the late James A. Collins, Jr, conducted by Everard and Company, brought a total of $708,000 (including buyer’s premium) and brought record prices for rare items, with 95 percent of lots sold. “The star of the auction was an extremely rare Leica MP-2 camera with motor and two battery packs,” says Chris Everard. “Only 27 cameras and 15 motors are known to have been produced. Something like this comes up once in a collector’s lifetime, and it set an Internet auction record of $86,250.
“There were several interesting trends in this auction,” continued Everard. “First, many of the bidders were firms that had actually sold Collins the original items. In addition, the quality and volume of items in the sale would in the past have been consigned to major European camera auction houses; many of the bidders we spoke to mentioned how much they enjoyed the ease – and ‘fun,’ as several commented – of the iGavel internet auction.”
Collins, who put together the collection over the past 30years, was an engineer and was fascinated by camera systems and howthey worked. Although he liked photography, his main interest wasin the technical aspects of cameras and their accessories and had alarge library of camera related material. “The collection consistedof more than 1,800 pieces and was housed in 120 tightly packedLexan air-tight boxes,” says Everard. “After realizing thesignificant historical and rare nature of the collection, weenlisted James A. Lager, a respected Leica historian and author, toact as consultant.”
Items ranged from late 1920s to late 1990s. Most were Leica equipment with examples of production bodies and lenses as well as preproduction prototypes, cutaways and dummy models; in addition, the collection contained Zeiss Ikon, Nikon, Rollei, Canon, Voightlander and Kodak equipment dating from the same time period.
Some of the other rare items that were sold were a Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1.2 chrome prototype lens that sold for $30,538, and a Leica Summaron Compur 35mm f/3.5 chrome lens, the only one known to exist, that sold for $25,555.
Some items in the sale were designed for the US government, including an Leica Elcan 90mm f/1 black lens for electro-optical night photography that brought $24,725, and a rare Leica underwater housing and M1 chrome, which sold for $8,913.
A Leica Wetzlar 72 camera sold for $14,400. Only 33 modelsare known to have been produced and this is a Betriebsk (internalworks) camera, which increased its rarity. Two lots of specialLeica If Swedish Crown marine reconnaissance outfits withconsecutive serial numbers, designed for the Swedish military; thefirst lot, a chrome with a 250mm 5.5 Meyer Tele-Megor lens, soldfor $13,353; the second lot, a chrome with a 240mm 4.5 SchneiderTele-Xenar lens, brought $12,191.
The fourth and final sale of camera equipment from the Collins estate will be held on iGavel in the fall, concurrent with an auction of classic cameras and equipment from various owners at Everard and Company.
For more information, 912-231-1376, info@EverardandCompany.com or www.iGavel.com.
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