Historical artifacts, photos from Byrd's Antarctic expedition at Old Town Auctions, Nov. 19-21 Old Town Auctions' Nov. 19-21 sale features an extraordinary cache of historical relics from Admiral Byrd's Antarctic expeditions, plus photographica, antique cameras and important images.
News-Antique.com - Oct 15,2010 - HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Traditionally, Old Town Auctions conducts a bountiful auction of vintage toys and antique advertising during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. This year the menu for Old Town’s annual “feast” – to be held Nov. 19-21 – has expanded to accommodate several bonus courses.
In addition to a vast selection of transportation toys, the Fall 2010 auction’s opening session will feature an extensive array of photographica, cameras and images, including items from the estate of Tom Clark; and historical artifacts and ephemera from U.S. Navy photographer Richard Conger, a specialist in underwater photography who documented Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s exploration of Antarctica. The Conger collection includes all of the distinguished photographer’s cameras, images and research books.
The approximately 450-lot Friday evening session, with its “focus” on photographic art, came together naturally, said Old Town Auctions’ owner Matt Protos. “I have been talking to Richard Conger’s daughter for quite some time, and the late Tom Clark, who was from Frederick, Maryland, was a very good friend of mine. When a third consignment came along that contained compatible items, the three jelled in my mind, and we decided to create a specialty session for vintage camera and photography buffs, and collectors of historical material,” Protos said.
Tom Clark was the son of another acclaimed photographer, Edward Clark, whose Life magazine assignments included snapping Marilyn Monroe when she was a young starlet seeking cinematic fame. An iconic Edward Clark Life magazine cover photo to be offered in Old Town’s upcoming sale is his signed and dated picture of an African-American musician with tears streaming down his face as he played at FDR’s funeral.
Antique and vintage photographic equipment in the opening session encompasses many different types of German, Japanese and American cameras, including Leicas, Rolleis and early Kodak wooden “view” models. The selection also includes lenses, light meters and other photographic accessories, as well as a panoramic timeline of images – from tintypes and daguerreotypes through modern photographs.
A stellar highlight is a Cine camera made by Akelly that flew over both the North and South Poles during Byrd’s explorations of the late 1920s/early 1930s. Protos explained that during Byrd’s Antarctic adventures of that period he was followed by two newsreel crews, each with a photographer. “One of the cameras was destroyed, but the other survived because the photographer refused to dump it when their plane started to lose altitude,” Protos said. “The passengers were throwing things out of the plane to lessen the weight, and apparently the photographer said he would jump out before he would ditch his camera. Luckily, both the photographer and the camera survived, and many years later, that camera was given as a gift to Richard Conger, who was the photographer’s assistant on that particular expedition.”
A premium offering of 19th-century optical devices and stereoptical viewers will cross the auction block. “Some of the items in this group even pre-date photography,” said Protos.
A special highlight of the Friday session is the archive of