Owner of the antique shop selling the collection, John Cole, says interested people have been calling from around Australia (ABC News: Henry Zwartz)
It is a camera collection that you could quite literally get lost in.
After 50 years of gathering, ill health is forcing a Devonport man to sell his film cameras and associated material.
There are 1,300 cameras up for grabs, ranging from those built in the 1870s, up to the beginning of this century.
Brands include Kodak, Leica, Pentax, Nikon and Canon.
John Cole, owner of Antique’s Emporium in Devonport, is selling the collection on behalf of the owner, who does not want to be identified.
“When someone calls you up and says I need to get rid of my camera collection, you never expect you’re about to walk in and pick up 1,300 cameras,” he said.
“There’s been interest from all around Australia.
“It’s incredible, there are even cameras here from the 1870s that still work, and they’re in quite amazing condition when you consider how old they are.
“The collection even has every Kodak instamatic camera ever made.”
As well as cameras, there are lenses, packaging, film chemical bottles, and all sorts of film paraphernalia.
“There’s even an old empty bottle of Pyro Gallic acid crystals, used for processing film,” he said.
Mr Cole said some of the cameras were smuggled into WWI trenches by Anzac soldiers.
“It’s sad when a collector has to relinquish his life’s work, but part of my job is finding people who are just as passionate about these items as the owner,” he said.
Australian Photographic Collectors Society president Rod Reynolds said it was increasingly common to see large camera collections up for sale.
“A lot of collections are coming up right now. The film era ceased 35 years ago, and most of those cameras were dumped or at least sold off cheaply,” he said.
Well-known film camera brands include Leica, Pentax, Kodak, Nikon, Canon, and Olympus are up for grabs. (ABC News: Henry Zwartz)
“It was also at that time that a lot of people were retiring, and had a bit of money to buy cameras that they yearned for when younger.
“Those people are now in their 90s, and those collections are either estates or collections being sold off prior to ‘departure’, and in many cases as they go into aged care.”
Mr Cole said the collection was worth around $100,000, but Mr Reynolds was unsure.
“Sometimes I find it appropriate to compare cameras to cars,” he said.
“A complete collection of Rolls Royce cars or Mercedes cars will cost super lots, and be almost impossible to compile, compared with a complete set of Morris Minors or worse still, Ladas.”
Mr Cole has already earmarked the oldest camera, a magic lantern from the turn of last century, for himself.
“That was used in picture theatres all those years ago, it’s quite simply magic,” he said.