Birmingham & Black Country

Russian spy cameras on sale at Dudley auction

JPS "Spy Camera" Disguised in a Cigarette Tin Image copyright Aston's Auctioneers
Image caption A JPS spy camera disguised in a cigarette tin

A collection of spy cameras used in the Cold War by Soviet spies are to go up for auction.

The Russian collection auction features cameras built into buttons, umbrellas, cigarette cases and various bags.

The lot which includes KGB spy and other sub-miniature cameras will go under the hammer at Aston's Auctioneers in Dudley, West Midlands, on 12 July.

Photographic consultant Tim Goldsmith said it was one of the "biggest" collections he had seen.

"I've been in the photographic industry for longer than I care to remember and this is one of the biggest collections I've seen of cameras on one theme.

Image copyright Aston's Auctioneers
Image caption A ladies clutch bag with spy camera fittings, "a simple, but elegant mechanical micro switch in the base of the bag allows a camera (when fitted) to be operated without detection"

"We had to split this collection in halves it's that big, the collector has been building it up over about 30 years, he's been doing the leg-work, going to Russia," Mr Goldsmith said.

Mr Goldsmith said it was hard to give the items guide prices, but has been "modest".

Some of the more interesting cameras could go for hundreds of pounds, he said.

Image copyright Aston's Auctioneers
Image caption A spy camera hidden inside a man's umbrella, raising the outer cover reveals the camera, ready for use

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Image copyright Aston's Auctioneers
Image caption A man's jacket with fitting for 1970s spy camera
Image copyright Aston's Auctioneers
Image caption An early KGB design camera button disguise set

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