Motion picture cameras

Chaplin's camera

You may remember the news a while ago about Charlie Chaplin’s camera coming up for auction. This will be at Christie’s in London on 25 July, which is part of a large sale of vintage motion picture camera equipment. Some enjoy this sort of stuff more than others, but the online catalogue is displaying some remakable rarities, including an Urban Bioscope from 1903 (estimate £300-500), a Kinemacolor camera (£1,000-1,500), and a 60mm Demeny-Gaumont camera (£10,000-15,000), while the Chaplin Bell & Howell will set you back £70,000-90,000. There are viewings from 21 July up to the day of the auction.

Rumour has it this will be the last Christie’s camera sale. There don’t seem to be the collectors around for cameras and projectors like these as there used to be, and Christie’s (so I am told) will be using space and resources for other, presumably more profitable things. What’ll happen to the market for vintage cinema technology, I don’t know, but Christie’s scholarly and reliable descriptions of some often extremely rare objects are going to be lost – if the rumours are true.

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