A Triunual magic lanternPress release:
Christie’s is to offer the collection of prominent Swiss
collector Thomas Ganz in a single owner sale on Monday 22 January 2007.
The collection consists of magic lanterns and lantern slides, optical
toys, selected cameras and photographs as well as prints and engravings
representing the entire history of the moving and static image. The 350
lots on offer were collected by Ganz over the past forty years, and are
expected to realise in excess of £300,000. His
collection is thought to be one of the most significant collections of
its type in private hands.
Thomas Ganz is the great grandson of the founder of the Zürich
firm of J Ganz which started business in 1844 and still trades today as
Ganz A.G. The firm has been a pioneer and market leader in the fields
of photography and projection for more than 150 years, and in the 1870s
produced its own range of magic lanterns. Today, the firm specialises
in digital audio-visual systems and conference facilities and is
managed by Thomas’s daughter Catherine.
This sale provides the opportunity for enthusiasts to acquire rare and
wonderful slides for future slide-shows, for collectors to add
specialist pieces to their collections, and for museums to obtain
significant pieces of pre-cinema history.
Particular highlights include:
• A biunial magic lantern (estimate: £8,000-12,000)
• A pagoda lantern (estimate: £2,000-3,000)
• A zoetrope, phenkistiscope, and praxinoscopes (estimates
• A rare early peep box (estimate: £4,000-6,000)
• A number 1 Kodak camera from 1889 (estimate:
• An early (pre-1900) French movie camera (estimate:
• Stereoscopic views (estimates from £300)
• An early reflex camera obscura circa 1820 (estimate:
• A large quantity of original prints and engravings showing
lanterns and related subjects including Daumier’s classic
engraving of Nadar photographing from a balloon (estimate
The world of pre-cinema is a fairly new collecting category, only
really coming to light in the 1950s, when a post-war affluent society
had disposable income to spend and invest, and there was a greater
awareness of cinema heritage. Magic Lanterns, the pre-cursor of modern
day slide projectors, and other pre-cinema pieces started to appear at
auctions across the world and a new field of collecting had begun.
Thomas Ganz was one of this new breed of collectors, building on the
memory of a Pathé-Baby given to him at Christmas in 1927.
This period saw the reemergence of slideshows on social occasions.
Interest grew, and by the 1970s academic interest in the history of the
cinema encouraged university courses covering the history of the
cinema. In the late 1980s the Museum of the Moving Image opened in
London as the quest for knowledge and information showed no sign of