News & Insights

Rarity of the Photographic World Comes to Auction

3rd May 2019.

An extremely rare Ilford ‘Witness’ camera is waiting to be snapped up at Tennants Auctioneers, when it comes under the hammer on 15th May. One of only 350 made, the Ilford Witness is one of the most sought-after cameras by collectors.

Estimated to sell between £5,000-7,000 (plus buyer’s premium), the Witness was a precision camera on a par with those made by the well-known manufacturer Leica. In 1945/7, Robert Sternberg and Werner Julius Rothschild, two German-Jewish refugees and ex-employees of Leitz and Zeiss respectively, approached Ilford to finance and market a new camera they had designed. After a series of delays and unsuccessful prototypes, the camera was finally put into production in 1953, made by Peto Scott Electrical Instruments. However, less than 350 were ever produced.

The Ilford ‘Witness’ was produced at a time when the best and most popular German cameras were not available and was sold with a serious price tag of £121.16s.8d (for comparison a Morris Minor cost £359 at the time).  The 35mm camera is to be sold with  the original f1.9 Dallmeyer Super-Six lens and leather case.

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