vassrotte
vassrotte
18 June, 21:00

Extremely rare FAG camera sold at Violity for a record amount

Extremely rare FAG camera sold at Violity for a record amount
A truly exciting auction recently took place with the participation of fans of the history of photography. From May 29 to June 9, collectors competed for an old Soviet camera with the engraving "V.O.O.M.P. Geodesy Plant" on the lens. Almost 200 people followed the auction, and 184 bids were placed.
In the end, the Soviet film camera was valued at 38,5001 UAH.
This made it the most expensive item sold on Violity in the "Cameras, camcorders and accessories" section in recent years. 
As for the camera's condition, the seller describes it as decent and adds: "The camera cocks and clicks. It has not been tested in operation."
The lot came with a FED case, but it is not the FED, but its unlucky competitor with the codename FAG, which stands for "Photographic Apparatus Geodesy" by photo history researchers.

Like the FED, this creation of Soviet engineers is nothing more than a copy of the Leica II with minor design and constructional changes. 
Leica II black, 1931
Leica II black, 1931
This German small-format rangefinder camera, produced in the early 1930s by Ernst Leitz, was copied in parallel by engineers at several Soviet enterprises. However, the experiments of the NKVD Labor Commune Plant in Kharkiv were the first and proved to be the most successful. 
The article
The article "There is a Soviet Leica!" about the Kharkiv FED. Proletarian Photo magazine, 1933
The first prototype of the FAG camera was assembled at the Moscow Geodesy plant in April 1934. 
It was reported in the Soviet Photo magazine in the fall. The author noted that the Geodesia camera had a high-quality lens produced by the VOOMP (All-Union Association of Optical and Mechanical Industry, the future LOMO) pilot plant and cost about 700 rubles. Readers were also asked to come up with a name for the technical novelty.
The article
The article "Another Soviet Leica". Soviet Photo magazine, September 1934.
Despite the plans for a large-scale production of these conventionally named cameras, their production was limited to two years and several hundred copies. Exactly how many were produced is not known for certain, but the catalog "1200 cameras from the USSR" states that the first edition was only 50 copies, and the second - 250. 
FAG (first edition)
FAG (first edition)
FAG (second edition)
FAG (second edition)
Interestingly, at a recent auction organized by Leitz Photographica, the official auction house of Leica Camera AG, another Soviet copy of the second Leica, called Pioneer, was sold. 
The camera, manufactured by the Leningrad plant in 1935, went under the hammer for 31200 euros.

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