An 1839 ?Daguerreotype? camera found in an attic and heralded as the ?oldest commercially produced camera in the world? is to be auctioned off next month.
The recently discovered wooden sliding-box camera ?throws new light on the history of photography,? claim auctioneers in Vienna who are due to sell the gem on 26 May.
It is understood to have been made by Paris manufacturer, Susse Frères and is predicted to fetch at least ?100,000.
Auctioneers believe that ?Le Daguerreotype? was made shortly after French inventor Louis Daguerre published details of his photographic process on 19 August 1839.
?The camera with the original lens by Chevallier is in wonderful original condition and has never been restored or modified,? claims the auction house.
Until now, the Daguerreotype camera produced by Daguerre?s brother-in-law Giroux – also in 1839 – has been regarded as the origins of commercial photography, said a spokesman for Westlicht Photographica Auction.
?There are around 10 of these in existence in various large museums,? he explained. ?But even earlier, on 5 September 1839, a small Susse Frères advertisement appeared in the French newspaper La Quotidienne.
?Except for a few instructions – in the George Eastman House in Rochester [USA], for example – no camera by this manufacturer was known to exist.?
Though Eastman Kodak?s records state that the Giroux model was ?introduced? on 19 August 1839, this date relates to the date that Louis Daguerre published the invention of his photographic process, according to the auction house.
?The self-advertising in the instruction booklet of the 5th September 1839 is an indication that, even at that time, Susse Frères must have had fully functioning equipment for some time before that?? claim the auctioneers.
The treasure is one of 800 lots which include collectible Leica gear.
Further details will appear in a forthcoming issue of AP.
The Westlicht Photographica Auction takes place at Westbahnstrasse 40, A-1070 Vienna, Austria.
Bids can be made by phone, in writing or online. For details call 0043 1523 56 59, visit www.westlicht-auction.com or email email@example.com.
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