Nicephore Niepce camera on Ebay

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by Samuel Hotton, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  2. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The flea market find of the century, that's for sure.
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,294
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wonder how many tens of thousands that will go for...
     
  4. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The listing says 50,000.00-100,000.00 euro. If it's genuine, that's probably conservative. My God, what a find!
     
  5. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would have expected such a valuable item to be auctioned "properly" via an auction house, no?
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,799
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nice phone Niepce camera :smile:

    I had to read the title twice, then clean my reading glasses.

    Sotheby's have stopped their specialist camera / photographic auctions. Evidently many of the collectors are rather aged and younger buyers have differing tastes. Also internet sales have democratised the market making older collectable equipment much easier to find.

    Ian

     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,919
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    It's an eBay live auction, so it is being auctioned traditionally via an auction house in Cologne, Germany, and absentee bidders are able to bid through eBay.
     
  8. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ah, I see...

    Do you think it will meet or exceed the estimate? Just curious about your opinion. I think it will exceed EUR 100,000.
     
  9. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Gent (Belgiu
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You are right, in certain branches of collecting fewer and fewer collectors appear, many get old and well, you know, die. It's the same with militaria collections, when I go to a militaria fair I feel like a kid (I'm almost 30 years old) because most are 60+. Same with photography fairs here in Belgium, most are 50+ because those youngsters go for the digital way instead of traditional.
     
  10. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

    Messages:
    417
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Location:
    Paris, Franc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    People "in the know" here in France —involved in the restoration* of Niepce's home in Chalon-sur-Saône and the creation of the website, www.niepce.com — have indicated to me that they seriously doubt that this camera was that of Niepce. Bidder beware!

    Best,

    Christopher

    PS - it should be mentioned that during the restoration —and transformation— of the house into a museum, they actually found several of Niepce's cameras and lab equipment in the attic . . .
    . . . . . .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2007
  11. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That's why I would want Sotheby's or Christie's to verify the provenance. Such an item auctioned on Ebay makes me nervous just for that fact alone.
     
  12. Bickart

    Bickart Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Location:
    7 km from Pa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Niepce small camera

    Hello Christopher,
    People "in the know" seriously doubt that this camera was that of Niépce.
    It would be interesting to know what "People in the know" know exactly (Sorry for the pun!). To be a bit more serious and without any controversy, anybody can have his opinion, what happens if people "in the know" are wrong? They just miss a very very interesting camera... Just consider that this camera has been found 25 years ago at 4 km from the place where ALL THE NIEPCE's STUFF has been stored for more than a century. Consider that this very small camera has an optical specs proportionally similar (aperture, field coverage) to that of the large camera which shot the Austin University first heliography etc. etc.
    All the best.
    Pierre-Jean
     
  13. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,488
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Pierre-Jean,

    Welcome to APUG. This being a rather strongly worded first post, may we ask if you are in anyway connected to the camera or auction?

    John Powers
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Niepce camera SOLD

    Well folks, the Niepce camera sold today for 42,000 Euros / $59,505.60.
    Real or hoax? Who knows, of course someone knows. In either case, there were two bidders that made 27 bids in a two minute time frame that were convinced it was worth having. I hope it went to a good home!
    In case anyone is interested, the design of the two element lens appears to be very similar to the Rodenstock Imagon.
    All the best,
    Sam
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,040
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In support of Chris' Nisperos' report, from the horse's mouth, as it were: http://www.niepce.com/pages/appareil.html

    For those of you who don't read french, the key points are:

    Auction Team Koln provided none of the documentation promised.

    There's no evidence that Niepce used such a camera or lens.

    Alternative explanations for it exist and haven't been ruled out.
     
  17. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

    Messages:
    417
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Location:
    Paris, Franc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pierre-Jean le plus cher,

    Dans mon post j'ai donner le lien pour le website donc tu est libre de les contacter et leur dire tes sentiments les plus profonds. Entre-temps, o! get off my back, dude! En ce qui concerne l'appareil, —vraiment— je m'en fiche si c'est authentique ou pas. Qu'est-ce que j'en ai à faire? J'ai une information, je la transmets. C'est tout. Si c'est ton habitude d'acheter des antiquités cheres et au prix fort sur simple déduction et sans une recherche aprofondie, c'est ton affaire. Mais faut pas critiquer tous ceux qui ont d'autres habitudes . . . n'est-ce pas?

    En tous cas, si tu est en France, tu est bienvenu de me contacter pour un verre (ton invitation ..).(OK.. le deuxième verre c'est pour moi!).

    Excuse my (bad) French. Welcome to APUG. You're not in Kansas anymore (mais peut-etre Bruères-Allichamps?) It's pretty friendly here, but if you come in swinging, keep your dukes up . . . this ain't no square dance! (< de l'humour!)

    Amicalement,

    Christopher

    . . . . . . . . .
     
  18. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

    Messages:
    417
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Location:
    Paris, Franc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ...having said that, a sodden thought creeps into my head. What if my contact for information (that the authenticity of the camera was doubtful) was actually bidding on the thing? Hmm. Intriguing.

    Nawww. I've been watching too many spy movies. Still, I'd be curious to know who bought it. Anybody know?

    Best,

    Christopher

    ......
     
  19. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    HERE IS THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION.
    Text put online on www.niepce.com on October 10th, 2007.

    Thoughts on the Auction of a Camera Obscura Attributed to Niépce


    On 13 October 2007, the Auction Team Köln in Cologne plans to sell on auction a camera obscura (item nr 452) entitled “Original Camera of Nicéphore Niépce’s, before 1825“. So as to react to the numerous inquiries we receive concerning the authenticity of this attribution, we have decided to reply with the following statement:

    To begin with, we have to say that we haven’t received any of the “numerous scientific expertises” and none of the “reports by renown experts and institutions”, which are proposed on request in the catalogue and the website of the Auction Team Köln. The only document we received is a summary by M. Bickart (Auction Team Köln, France). It is thus very regrettable that no expert agreed to write an analysis of this camera in his field of competence.

    We are thus not talking about an expertise of renown, confirming the attribution of this camera to Nicéphore Niépce, but an assessment by the Auction Team Köln itself, which draws on a line of argumentation that fails to clearly attribute the camera to the inventor of photography.

    For us, it seems that there are too many incompatibilities with what we know on Niépce’s research, for example as regards the format of the camera, the size of the images, the use of frosted glass, etc. To this, we must add the absence of any mention of the camera and the lense in Niépce’s (otherwise highly comprehensive) letters. In addition, it is extremely difficult – even impossible – to include this lense in the chronology of the evolution of Niépce’s research, whether before or after 1825. All these elements confirm our doubts regarding its authenticity.

    At present, and to the extent of our current knowledge, it is thus impossible for us to certify that this camera could have ever belonged to Niépce.
    Furthermore, we regret that other (highly promising) possibilities to attribute this camera have not been further explored:

    These include Claude Felix Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor, the inventor of photography on glass, who was from St Cyr, a small village next to Niépce’s. Or Fortuné Joseph Petiot-Groffier (1788-1855), a photography pioneer living near Chalon sur Saône. Invoices show that as early as 1840, he ordered his own camera obscura, lenses and other photographic material from Vincent Chevalier, at the time when this optician was trying to perfect Daguerre’s camera, by reducing the size of the images to shorten exposure time.

    Burgundy indeed abounds in photography pioneers, who have followed the steps of its glorious inventor.


    At Gras, the Nicéphore Niépce House, on October 7th, 2007.
    Jean-Louis Marignier and Pierre-Yves Mahé

    All the best,
    Sam H.
     
  20. Bickart

    Bickart Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Location:
    7 km from Pa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    La petite chambre de nièpce

    Bonsoir Christopher,
    Désolé pour cette réponse tardive, j'avais perdu mon mot de passe et je viens de le retrouver!
    Bien sur, le premier verre sera pour moi...
    Je ne suis pas neutre dans cette vente, j'ai travaillé depuis pas mal de temps sur cette petite chambre à la demande d'Auction Team Köln qui a fait la vente Samedi dernier et j'ai reçu beaucoup d'aide d'excellents amis et spécialistes.
    Je ne suis pas expert mais je connais un peu l'histoire de cette chambre. J'en ai d'ailleurs parlé avec "the people in the know" il ya deux ans et ni "eux" ni moi ne pouvions imaginer ce que nous avons appris en deux ou trois ans.
    I am sorry Christopher, I do not know how to behave on a forum. I just have a 17 pages text and pictures describing this small box and what we think to be its "story". I do not have your email address. Please tell me how to send you this text, just for your information, NO PUBLICITY.
    All the best.

    Pierre-Jean
     
  21. Bickart

    Bickart Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Location:
    7 km from Pa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The little Niepce Camera

    Hi John,
    As I told Christopher, I had lost my password and I found it one hour ago... thus this late answer!
    You are perfectly right, I am connected to Auction Team Köln and with the help of many collectors friends and specialists as well as with the books written by "the people in the know" about Nicephore Niépce, we have found, in more than two years, a lot of interesting facts and details. I presume that this forum is not the right place to insert a 17 pages pdf file but if you are interested in our analysis please let me know where I can post this file written in French, or in English (sorry, "my" French English ) or in Spanish.
    With my best regards.
    Pierre-Jean
     
  22. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,488
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Pierre-Jean,

    Thank you. This link was posted at the begining of the thread. Is it the same 17 pages you offer? If so thank you. I found it very interesting.
    http://www.breker.com/Anzeigen/NIEPCE english.pdf
    I was not in a position to bid on such a prize, but the history and the discovery is very exciting.

    John Powers
     
  23. Bickart

    Bickart Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Location:
    7 km from Pa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you John,
    It's the right link, only difference, the Spanish version is not online.
    I am sorry you were not in a position to bid, I think it could have been a good investment, if we discover in 2009 that the "new" letters from Niepce are mentioning this small "box" as Daguerre was calling the Niepce cameras!
    Pierre-Jean Bickart
     
  24. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

    Messages:
    417
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Location:
    Paris, Franc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Merci, Jean-Pierre, pour ton reponse .. for the benefit of this (mostly anglophone) forum, I'll answer you in English. Apologies to English-only readers for my previous post in French.

    Thank you anyway for offering to send me your report on the camera in question, however, as I have already mentioned to you, this affair is not very important to me. I was just passing along some information.

    I will reiterate however that there is nothing wrong with a prospective buyer of a very expensive antique wanting more than anecdotal information about its origins. In the absence of solid proof, I'm afraid that even a report of 1000 pages would still be just that: anecdotal!

    The statement issued by Pierre-Yve Mahé and Jean-Louis Marignier (of the Niepce House project and www.niepce.com) raised an excellent point: since other photographic pioneers who dealt with the optician Vincent Chevalier were active in the Chalon-sur-Saône area and at the same period as Niepce —such as Joseph Fortuné Petiot-Groffier and Abel Niepce de Saint Victor— why the rush to judgement that the camera was that of Niepce and not someone else? Just to give it more value? I mean, perhaps the camera was Niepce's . . . and perhaps not. It's this second option which is at the heart of the polemic. Probably, it would have been more forthright to present the object thusly: "Perhaps the camera of Niepce". Then there might have been less howling, n'est-ce pas?

    Sorry, nothing against you, but the question naturally comes to mind. Hope you'll still buy me that glass of wine!

    Bien à toi,

    Christopher

    PS: It certainly is unfortunate that you couldn't find your password for APUG —and respond to the comments about the authenticity of the camera—
    until after the camera was auctioned-off. In the future you can have this sent to you by the forum software. It takes just a second!

    . . . . .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2007
  25. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,294
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think it suffices to say that this is an item of unproven provenance. I don't know enough about antique camera values, particularly cameras of this vintage, to say if that was a fair price or not for an item of uncertain provenance, but I hope that the buyer factored that in to their bidding. I helped my parents buy a pencil sketch which was attributed to but not documented to be by John Singer Sargent. The price was more than fair, since the attribution was unproven, and stated to be as such. I think the issue here is the statements that were made regarding the marketing of this camera that were quite affirmative in their attribution of the camera to Niepce. Lacking serial numbers and/or sales receipts, the best we can hope for is a "period authentic camera LIKE one used by Niepce".
     
  26. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

    Messages:
    417
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Location:
    Paris, Franc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Right arm, Scott.


    . . . .