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WestLicht Anniversary Auctions

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On 18 November, an extensive selection of photographs, photo books and vintage prints was offered up for auction at the 15th WestLicht Photography Auction in Vienna – including numerous icons and valuable examples from the early days of the medium.

Of the 200 listed items, an unusually high number of prints remained unsold (notably by Henry Cartier-Bresson) or were auctioned below their estimated value. Equally, there were several surprises that exceeded the organisers’ expectations.

The highest price was achieved by Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day Kiss. Estimated at a value of 16,000–18,000 euros, the silver-gelatine print from the 1970s sold for 48,000 euros. Robert Doisneau’s famous kissing scene, Le baiser de L’Hotel de Ville, sold for 19,200 euros (estimated value: 12,000–14,000 euros), while Joe Rosenthal’s Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima went to the highest bidder for 24,000 euros – double its estimated value of 10,000–12,000 euros.

The biggest surprise was Dennis Stock’s James Dean on Time Square, New York, 1955. Listed with an estimated value of 5,000–6,000 euros, it was sold for a staggering 38,400 euros.

Camera Auction
For once, it was not a Leica but a Nikon camera that achieved the highest bidding price at the 30th WestLicht Camera Auction. One buyer pledged 384,000 euros in order to own the Nikon One from April 1948, the earliest known model of a Nikon camera (estimated value: 160,000–180,000 euros).

The black-finish Leica M3 (serial number 915252, manufactured in 1958), which German Magnum photographer Herbert List worked with for years, went to a new owner for 78,000 euros (estimated value: 40,000–50,000). The Leica MP chrome (serial number MP-286) from 1957, offered complete with a Summarit 5 cm f/1.5, a Leicavit MP and the original brochure, sold for 48,000 euros (estimated value: 35,000–45,000 euros).

For further information visit WestLicht

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