Photographica collectors set records in online auction

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COLOGNE, Germany — A high attendance rate and active buying were the hallmarks of both the annual Photokina fair in Cologne and the longstanding traditional Photographica sale at Auction Team Breker Sept. 25, 2010. Well-known collectors, authors and experts from all over the world used the opportunity of two photographic events in one weekend to inspect the many rare and wonderful collectors’ items on offer at the specialist auction house.

The appeal was easy to see: More than 730 lots, the majority single items chalked up some remarkable results, and several set new record prices. With a sales quota of almost 90 percent, and many lots selling at the upper end of their estimate range, the auction was an unqualified success.

Competitive bidding drove the price for a rare 1959 Chinese copy of the Zenit Camera “Zi Jin Shan — the Camera from Purpurberg in Nanjing” (Lot 136), which fetched $4,785.11
An above-average price also was achieved by the sought-after Leitz Noctilux lenses for the Leica ‘M’ system; the rare Noctilux 1.2 / 50 mm hit a new auction record for this lens at $10,721.50, after a contest from buyers in three continents.

There many other memorable results. The first  model of Ansco ‘Memo’, in tropical wood, sold for $1,649.16; a Zeiss Biotar 1.4 / 7 cm lens of 1939, with Leica screw-fit thread and T-coating, made $8,579.92; a French table stereo-viewer, “Le Taxiphote,” from 1915 (Lot 413) changed hands for $3,301; the classic 1960 subminiature Tessina Automatic, in a desirable red finish, achieved $2,308.02.

A pair of original hand-colored Nadar portrait photographs of a boy and girl in 18th century-style fancy dress,  c. 1865, were acquired for a museum collection for $3,794.81. The miniature Stanhope-viewer in 3 x 2 x 1 cm format went for $988.96. An animated erotic peep show from the 1880s jumped to $1979.26.

The results demonstrate a new trend in the field of 16 and 35 mm film cameras, projectors and lenses. The following lots were subject to some of the fiercest bidding in the sale: Cameflex 16 / 35, c. 1955, for $6,105.51; 14 film and photo Lenses for $9,903; Busch Vario-Glaukar lens, c. 1936, for $1,360.66; and an Ernemann Magister II, c. 1920, for $3,193.65.

To consign or learn about future sales, call Auction Team Breker’s U.S. contact at (703) 796-5544, Fax: (703) 766-0966, or e-mail To view results online, visit


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