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Watch clocks in over the odds.

AN rare watch made to hide a spy camera was sold at auction for pounds 21,600 yesterday.

The 19th Century Watch Camera was made in Birmingham and sold for much more than expected at an auction in Knowle, West Midlands.

The watch, a Lancaster Ladies Watch Camera, was sold to an anonymous bidder after the item was brought to Bonhams auctioneers by the grandson of the original owner.

He had noticed he had the watch, which looked like an ordinary nickelplated pocket watch case when closed - but when he opened it he found it actually contained a tiny camera

Frances Godden, from the auction house, said there was a lot of interest in the piece.

"It went for way more than the estimation. We are delighted with that."

The Lancaster Watch Camera was patented in October 1886 and made until 1890.

Lionel Hughes, Bonhams' camera specialist, said: "Such tiny cameras were the forerunners for the spy camera - a mechanism disguised as a different object.

"However, it would have been very inconvenient to use as four very small catches had to be released in order to remove the glass screen and to fit a separate metal sensitised material holder for each exposure."

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SPYMASTER... The 19th Century Watch Camera was sold at auction for over pounds 21,000
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 10, 2007
Words:219
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