London, South Kensington
14 September 2004
Ladies Handbag camera
Samuel Aspis, London; the tan-leather handbag silk-lined with metal clasps, compartmentalized and stamped USA PATENT NO. 1656852. MADE IN ENGLAND, the mirrored front flap revealing a Houghton-Butcher Mfg. Co. Ltd. Vest Pocket Ensign camera no. 2553
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Lothrop & Auer (1978), Die Geheimkameras, p. 105-106, 107.H. D. Abring, Von Daguerre bis Heute IV, nos. 4328, 4329.
Adrian Richmond, 'Houghtons Ensignette Camera' in Photographica World, no. 56, 7-11; 'Research Update', 75, pp. 32-33.
Only five examples of the Aspis handbag camera are currently known: one in George Eastman House, USA; one in the Abring Collection, Germany; one shown in Lothrop and Auer; one in a private collection; and this example. The camera was produced in two styles, an upright or a horizontal-shaped handbag.
Samuel Aspis was granted British patent number 250468 on April 15 1926 and United States patent number 1,656,852 of January 17 1928 both describing and showing (see extract, right) the handbag camera. Aspis's British patent claimed the following:
1. An improved combination of hand-bag, lady's vanity case with a collapsible camera where the camera forms an integral part of the handbag.
2. The provision of flap to conceal the camera when it is collapsed
3. The improved arrangement combining a lady's handbag and a collapsible photographic camera.
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
Post Lot Text
See front cover illustration.
End of Sale
Our next sale of
Cameras, Magic Lanterns and
takes place on
16 November 2004
We are accepting consignments
for this sale and for our 2005 sales
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