The Oldest and Most Expensive Camera in the World
The wooden sliding-box camera was made in Paris in September 1839 by Alphonse Giroux, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre’s brother-in-law. Daguerre, the inventor of the first practicable photographic process, signed the camera to verify its authenticity. Only five days after the first public announcement of photography on August 24th 1839, the first advertisement for the 'Daguerréotype' is printed in the ‘Journal des Débats’. There is no record of the total number of cameras that Giroux produced, but since cheaper and improved cameras came onto the market relatively quickly, it is assumed that the numbers were very limited. Only very few of these cameras are known to exist worldwide and all of those are in public museum collections.
The Giroux 'Daguerreotype' up for auction has been found recently. It was in private ownership in northern Germany for generations and has never before been documented. The outstanding original condition of the 170 year-old apparatus is remarkable. Never before has a camera of this kind been offered for sale by auction. An original manual in German language from 1839 is also included in this sensational sale. It is expected that WestLicht Auctions’ own world record price of 576,000 Euros for a camera will be significantly exceeded. Starting price is Euro 200.000, the estimate is Euro 500,000 – 700,000.