Auction House Sells Soviet Spy Cameras Disguised as Everyday Objects

Auction House Sells Soviet Spy Cameras Disguised as Everyday Objects

A British auction house have sold a number of spy cameras, including one from the Soviet disguised to look like a regular Zenit E 35mm SLR, which went for £3,300 ($4,200).

Aston’s Auctioneers, based near Birmingham in the UK, have recently shifted 25 rare USSR-era cameras, the most interesting of which may just be the Zenit lookalike. Complete with a leather case that even has the brand’s name etched on it, the camera sold for more than 20 times its original estimated value of £150 ($195).

Lot 411, Unique Spy Camera disguised as a camera in a Zenit E case. Hammer price: £3,300.

Opening the case reveals that inside is the F-21 AJAX-12 spy camera with a tiny f/2.8 lens. The camera uses 21mm film.

One of the most intriguing design features is that the real lens actually points out the side of the model, allowing the user to take pictures discreetly at a 90 degree angle, using a button on the bottom of the product so as not to arouse suspicion.  

Lot 202, JPS "Spy Camera" disguised in a cigarette packet. Metal “packet.” Hammer price: £29,000.

The auctioneers also previously listed other cameras disguised as a briefcase, a cigarette package, and an umbrella. According to Engadget, all of the items listed were manufactured between 1942 and 1990, and are all still in working order. The cigarette camera also exceeded expectations, fetching a huge £29,000 ($37,500).

Images used with permission of Aston’s Auctioneers.

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