Flints Auctions are to offer a 'pre-production' Compass camera 1936/37, with the serial number 1015. The camera, also known as the Compass I, was withdrawn after its initial public offering and buyers offered the redesigned Compass II camera. The Compass camera was the brainchild of the maverick designer and politician Noel Pemberton-Billing and manufactured by Le Coultre et Cie. According to the auctioneers this is the first time a Compass I has been offered at auction and it is estimated at £12,000-18,000. The sale takes place on 23 April 2022.
The Compass I differed from the Compass II in the following respects:
- This camera is 3mm shorter and 3mm less thick than the version II
- The lens has no name or data
- The lens cap is separate and not attached The 'Le Coultre' name does not appear on the outside of the camera
- No lens cap depth of field calculator
- More flush spirit level
- There is no hinged magnifier
- The swivel mount is for a small screw
- No option for cable release
- The wheel on the front is engraved 'Shutter Winder'
- Inside the back is engraved 'World Patents Pending' Back engraved 'Compass Cameras, London. Pemberton Billing, Patents/ Manufactured for the Licencees' - No mention of LeCoultre
The differences and best description of the Compass camera was given by Dave Todd in a series of articles in Photographica World.
See the full description here: https://www.flintsauctions.com/auction/lot/lot-99---a-pre-production-lecoultre--cie-compass-camera/?lot=14329&so=0&st=Compass&sto=0&au=38&ef=&et=&ic=False&sd=0&pp=50&pn=1&g=-1