Silent Auction - Balance of Mair Collection

A few years ago Christine Mackie initiated a few small silent auctions held as part of regular program meetings. When we had a number of very good items left from our very successful mail and phone auction of the Bill Mair collection this summer, we decided to hold another silent auction, this time on a much larger scale as our inaugural program for this fall. The auction was held on September 20th, 2000 coordinated by our regular auction coordinator, Ed Warner with the assistance of a few members including Mike Robinson and Michael Klatt.

The lots were carefully laid out around the hall and grouped by a colour code. Periodically Ed would begin a countdown for a particular group of lots and at the designated time bidding stopped and the winners were declared. In between countdowns the members socialized and bartered with the folks who brought items to buy and trade at the back of the hall.

No ticket, no bidding. Bidders registered with Ed who gave each one a serialized ticket. To bid, an amount and the ticket number were written on the page beneath the article. Bids were raised from time time to time as the Gralab measured it's way to the close of bidding.

No, that's not a bid. Hand bidding as demonstrated by Mike Klatt was not permitted. Ed did have to remind participants from time to time that they had to register and record a bid, not wait for the auction to "start".

A lull in the bidding. We had time to chat about finds and discoveries since our last meeting back in June and to check out what Mo, Bill, Shelton, Larry and some others had brought for sale and show.

A satisfied winner. John is passing the paperwork over to Ed after successfully bidding on an item.

Wow!, he did win the bid! Ron and Bill look a bit surprised at John's successful bid -- perhaps thinking they missed a bargain this time...

Checking book value. Or just checking a book? In the background Two Roberts are chatting - likely about an article for the next Journal. Parts of the image are fuzzy due to a shutter speed of 2 seconds by room light (1.94 seconds according to the record kept by the camera).

A Wonderful old Exakta. My first quality camera was an Exakta VXIIa purchased new in the late 1950s at a time when they were priced higher than a Leica. This pre war model looked to be in very fine condition.

Take a closer look. One of the reasons I bought my first Exakta was for its ability to take close up pictures using extension rings and the through the lens viewfinder. I took this shot to show off the ability of the 990 to do close ups too. The detail at full resolution is remarkable. Hopefully in a few years, when fast Internet access becomes common, we can display pictures like this at their full resolution.

Exakta Telephoto. The early telephoto lenses were quite good. It was much easier to design a tele lens than a "normal" or wide angle lens. Did you know even the "normal" lens was special on an Exakta (retro-focus) due to its long lens to film distance to accommodate the mirror movement? 55mm and 58mm "normal lens" were quite common vs the 50mm "normal" lens on the Leica and other rangefinder cameras.

I had one of those... This is how the lots were spread out for easy access. Can't you just picture Sam down at the end saying "I had one of those".

Hey! There's a bargain. All items in the auction received careful scrutiny by the bidders. Some adding to their store of information, others reminiscing, and others deciding to bid or raise their bid.

Checking it out. Every item received a careful inspection from prospective bidders.

All in a row. You can see Ed's fine hand work here Each Item carefully tagged with a clearly visible lot number and a colour dot which signified which group it belonged to for closing the bids.

Balda folder and box. And finally, a picture of the little Balda folder, complete with its original box taking us back to the days when inexpensive quality cameras usually came from Germany, and everyone was hopping on the 35mm "minicam" bandwagon of the late 1930s.

Bill Mair. The cameras and other photographic items sold this summer and at the silent auction in September 2000 are from the fine collection assembled by the late Bill Mair. A friend and long time member of the PHSC, and Zeiss Historical Society, Bill is missed by his many friends. Those of us in the PHSC were very pleased to help Bill's family by managing the sale of his collection on behalf of his estate.



The images on this page were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera, plus a small Leica pocket tripod for slow shots. This was the first meeting I covered since upgrading from my earlier Nikon 900s which is now being used by my daughter Suzy. The rapid transition from film to digital is well under way with new cameras and improved capabilities being announced daily. This year 3 mega pixel "prosumer" cameras like the 990 have become common place. And 1.5 and 2 mega pixel cameras are inexpensive and plentiful enough to tempt many casual snap-shooters to cross over to the new digital medium. Better printers with archival inks and papers are available to make the computer generated image even more comparible to silver-based images! 

I am very pleased with the image quality and the incredible number of features added to the Coolpix in just a couple of years since the 900 was released. In addition to the much higher resolution, this camera operates considerably faster than the 900/900s and 950. The body is a metal casting in a pebbled gray finish with a wide black rubber grip (a red rubber inset adds a splash of colour - in the USA this pad is a blue/purple).

Click on any of the thumbnails at the right, to bring up a larger version of the photo in a separate window. All images use the same pop up window, which might flip behind your main window when you change images, so close the pop-up after viewing. (my first time trying to set up a multi-window page so let me know if you have trouble with it. It should be Okay in IE or Netscape 4.0 up).


by Robert Carter



Ed Warner with tickets
No ticket, no bidding

Mike and Ed discuss bidding
No, that's not a bid

Mike and Ed take a chat break
A lull in the bidding

pass the paperwork and take your camera
A satisfied winner

Wow - He did win the bid
Wow! he did win the bid.

checking a book
Checking book value

A wonderful old Exakta

Look at the focus threads!
Take a closer look

Exakta Tele Lens
Exakta telephoto

lots displayed on stage
I had one of those...

check the bargains
Hey! there's a bargain

Checking it out

All in a row...

Balda folder and box

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