Christie?s is to end auctions dedicated to cameras and other classic kit at its South Kensington premises in London after more than 30 years.

Christie?s held its first camera auction in 1973 and claims to have been the world?s leading camera auctioneer since the late 1970s.

The last auction of still cameras will take place on 6 June, featuring Leica, Nikon, 35mm and other photographic equipment. Photograph auctions will not be affected by the decision.

We understand from a well-placed source that the move is the result of falling demand for collectible kit over recent years.

Christina Freyberg, public relations manager for Christie?s in London, confirmed the end of dedicated camera sales. ?It?s a strategic decision,? she told us. ?We are moving away from a collector-centric approach.?

However, she would not be drawn on whether falling demand was the reason for the move or whether it is part of a money-saving plan.

Freyberg said that cameras may be included in future sales as part of auctions that feature art objects, but she could not say for certain.

She added that the decision is part of restructuring which is expected to lead to the loss of at least six jobs at Christie?s South Kensington.

The move means Christie?s director and camera specialist Michael Pritchard will be leaving the auctioneers after 21 years.

He told us that Christie?s remains committed to its South Kensington base in which, he said, the company has ?invested heavily? in recent years.

According to Christie?s, the collectible market reached its peak in the mid-1990s when it clocked-up £2m a year in sales.

Pritchard added: ?Some of my personal highlights have been the re-setting of many auction record prices during my career; dealing with some very exciting collections including that of several renowned collectors and photographers, especially the 1991 landmark spy camera sale, the property of Terence Donovan and property from several international museums.?