Rare cam­era set for sale

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - AUCTIONS -

ONE of the fore­run­ners of the mod­ern-day cam­era – made by Jac­ques Da­guerre and dat­ing from 1839 – could sell for a record price for such items at a u c t i o n l a t e r t h i s y e a r, a Vi­enna art gallery said.

Barely a dozen da­guerreo­type cam­eras still ex­ist to­day, most of them housed in mu­se­ums.

But Ga­lerie Westlicht in Vi­enna has been com­mis­sioned to sell a rare one bear­ing the s i g n a t u r e o f i t s d e s i g n e r, Jac­ques Da­guerre (1787-1851), and it is sched­uled to come un­der the ham­mer in the Aus­trian cap­i­tal on May 29.

When the gallery auc­tioned an un­signed da­guerreo­type cam­era in 2007, it sold for a record € 576 000 (R6.1 mil­lion).

Gallery di­rec­tor Peter Coeln re­vealed that the ven­dors this time were a fam­ily of op­ti­cians from norther n Ger many “who would like to re­main anony­mous”.

“The cur­rent owner was given it by his fa­ther in the 1970s as a present for get­ting his op­ti­cian’s diploma,” Coeln said. The cam­era – with its slid­ing box made of pine and a lens by Parisian op­ti­cians Vin­cent and Charles Che­va­lier – is in good con­di­tion.

It car­ries a seal by the maker Alphonse Giroux, who was Da­guerre’s brother-in-law, and Da­guerre’s sig­na­ture is clearly leg­i­ble.

“There is no se­rial num­ber, un­like other ap­pa­ra­tus in use at the time. But it car­ries the ini­tials ‘uv’, which sug­gests it may have been made for some­one of the higher classes in the 19th cen­tury,” Coeln said.

The gal­lerist said he hoped the cam­era would be sold to a French buyer “since France is the coun­try where photography was in­vented”. –Sapa-AFP

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