Nikon I (c.1949)
first model Nikon in close to mint original condition, version with 4 polished film guide rails, original shutter (perfect working), non-removable take-up spool, original back door with same number, base plate engraved with MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN, matching and very rare collapsible Tokyo Nikkor-Q.C 3.5/5cm no.7051404, very rare chrome cap, ever ready case, original instruction book, blue velvet maker's box. (Serial no. 609405, Condition: A/B)
Starting Price: 9,000 EUR
Estimate: 18,000-22,000 EUR
[From the WestLicht Photographica Auction highlights page.]
(Thanks to Mike O'Donoghue)
Featured Comment by Eamon Hickey: "I just read a nice little book that is essentially about this camera called The Nikon Camera in America, 1946-1953, by Michael Wescott Loder. (Available through TOP's Amazon portal—you're welcome, Mike). [Thank you, Eamon —Ed.]
"There's also a little piece on Nikon's Global web site, written in shall we say quirky English, about the rediscovery of the original prototype of this camera, serial #6091. It had long since been given up for lost, but in 1997 it was found in an old cardboard box in a corner of Nikon's original Ohi factory.
"An historically and sociologically interesting argument is often made about the first practical version of this camera (the 'M') and more especially the lenses that Nikon made at the same time: They were arguably the first precision Japanese-made consumer products to gain worldwide recognition for quality equal to European and American manufacturers (in 1950, with articles in the New York Times and elsewhere.) That little camera (well, its direct descendant) and its lenses were, at least in some sense, the vanguard of the Japanese economic miracle. Or so the argument goes."