In this day and age, concoct of the term 'Spy camera' and you are greeted with visions of plastic kid's pens and wearable cameras. These cameras may look equal to inconspicuous everyday objects, but in reality, they would not be of much use to any real spy.
Aston's Auctioneers in Dudley have one of their regular camera garage sales coming up in July and with it comes an opportunity to buy a real spy camera. Up for auction are several spy cameras from a huge single-owner collection of Soviet cameras.
Tim Goldsmith, Vivid Consultant at Aston's Auctioneers says "The end of the Soviet Union combined with advances in tiny digital cameras, means that this is presumably one of the last opportunities for collectors to obtain a real, old style, film-based spy camera. In the sale we have several Minox cameras (the "James Relationship" spy camera), including a rare Riga version, plus microfilming, fingerprinting & copying cameras and more, but the highlights are the several disguised spy cameras. These register cameras hidden in a man's attaché case, a lady's handbag and purse and even in an umbrella. My favourite however is a camera strengthened into a man's jacket, with the camera lens hidden behind one of the buttons and fired from a 'trigger' in the jacket steal."
"With all these options available to a spy, you would think THE last thing to disguise a camera as would be … a camera! But we requite have a unique spy camera hidden in a camera case".
This looks just like a run-of-the-mill Zenit model, but a secret is covert inside, a F-21 spy camera for shooting at 90 degrees from where the case is pointing. The spy would simply walk around carrying the "Zenit" camera over their take on and even if they were in a location where photography was forbidden it would not be apparent that it was armed and ready to take a photograph – it was after all in a minute camera case. In use the spy would simply press a small button on the base, a tiny flap on the side of the camera case would open, the microscopic camera inside would fire and the flap snap shut!
Certainly a gadget worthy of "Q"!
The Russian Collection auction, which countenances KGB spy & other sub-miniature cameras camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or is on 12th July 2018 at Aston's Auctioneers, Baylies Hall, Tower Street, Dudley, West Midlands. DY1 1NB.
Earlier this year, a Leica camera flog betrayed for over £2.1 million at auction.