Lucky Strike spy camera among highlights of Hong Kong sale

A Lucky Strike spy camera is among a fascinating selection of pieces offered in Bonhams' auction of rare cameras on December 3 in Hong Kong.

It was created as a prototype for the US signal corps between 1949 and 1950 and is one of only two in existence.

Lucky Strike camera
The Lucky Strike camera is one of two in existence

The other is housed in the permanent collection of the US signal corps museum in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.  

The camera is hidden within a real Lucky Stripe packet and is capable of shooting 18 exposures on 16mm film.

It's accompanied by a light meter, which is ingeniously disguised as a box of matches.

Hidden cameras were very much in vogue during the cold war era and are popular collectors' items today.

A ballpoint pen camera developed by the Stasi and the Czech secret police made $24,279 at Westlicht Photographica Auction in 2011.

The fact that the lot is unique on the market is likely to ensure strong bidding at auction, hence its valuation of $41,287-64,512.

A 1954 Japanese Doryu 2-16 gun camera is expected to make $18,063-25,805.

The police commissioned the camera following a series of violent protests in the early 1950s. It was intended as an easy way to accurately capture images with a single hand.

Ultimately the development took too long and the police went with a competitor's model. Around 600 were produced and sold on the civilian market.

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