VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium
The Ganz Collection
Thomas Ganz has been surrounded by magic lanterns, optical toys and other pre-cinema artefacts all his life. He is the great grandson of the founder of the Zürich firm of J. Ganz which started business in 1844 and still trades in the city as Ganz A.G. The firm has been a pioneer and market leader in the fields of photography and projection for more than a century and a half and in the 1870s produced its own range of magic lanterns, the Pinakoskop (see lots 339 to 341). Today the firm specialises in digital audio-visual systems and conference facilities and is managed by Thomas' daughter Catherine.
Inspired by his own family's business history and the memory of a Pathé Baby, given to him at Christmas in 1927, Thomas started collecting in the 1950s, becoming one of a small band of collectors fascinated by the developing field of pre-cinema. This period also saw the renaissance of the magic lantern show. Gleaming mahogany and brass lanterns had a hundred years of cobwebs dusted away and brightly coloured hand painted slides once again amused and educated an enchanted audience.
In the mid-1970s the Magic Lantern Society was formed to satisfy the demand for information and the sharing of experiences. Thomas was one of the early members of the Society and very quickly became one of the respected elders, a position earned for his considerable knowledge of everything from the early shadow shows to the birth of the cinema and beyond, but also for the quality and depth of his collection which he constantly strived to improve.
At the same time, an academic interest in the history of the cinema emerged and it seemed almost overnight that there were university courses covering the history of the cinema. In London, in 1988, the Museum of the Moving Image opened (closing, not through any lack of popularity, in 1999) and other museums across Europe, Japan and America developed their own specialised collections.
In 1994, at the age of 74, Thomas published Die Welt Im Kasten (The World in a Box), which chronicles the history of the projected image from the camera obscura to the audio-visual systems of the late 20th century. This wonderfully written and illustrated book quickly became one of the standard works of reference for students of the history of cinema and many of the pieces illustrated are included in this sale.
The auction provides the opportunity for the showman to add some rare and wonderful slides to future performances, for collectors to add specialist items to their collections, and for museums to enhance displays with the acquisition of major pieces of pre-cinema history.
L M H Smith
Honorary Secretary and Treasurer
Magic Lantern Society
Cameras and Photographic Lenses