Oldest surviving Nikon fetches $406K at auction

A fabulous piece of photographic history just sold at auction for $406,000, more than twice the estimated haul. This Nikon One was the third production camera — as in the third actual camera it built — from the now-famous company, and it’s the oldest one known to still be around today.

Nikon began as a optics company, Nippon Kogaku K.K., in 1917, and made a few lenses and even worked on a Canon body in the 1930s. But 1948 was the first year it made its own cameras, starting with the One or I, of which less than a thousand were made. (A bit more history here.)

It’s an interchangeable-lens rangefinder, and the lens included is also an old one: the 11th Nikon ever made, a 50mm f/2 that collapses back into the body. It comes with a great old double-strap leather case that I…

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