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World's oldest, priciest camera hits auction block

A daguerreotype camera from 1839 signed by its namesake, Jacques Mande Daguerre, is up for auction and could go for as much as $985,000.

Daguerreotype Giroux
This "Daguerreotype Giroux" from 1839 will be auctioned off in Europe on May 29. The auction house says all details, including the lens, the plaque signed by Daguérre himself, the black velvet interior, and the ground-glass screen, are in their original state. WestLicht Photographica Auction
The label of the "Daguerreotype Giroux", signed by the inventor Louis Jacques Mandé Daguérre to verify its authenticity. WestLicht Photographica Auction

Daguerrotype cameras are the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfathers of the devices we use for snapshots today. Recently, the earliest--and with an expected price as high as 700,000 euro ($985,000), the most expensive--example of such a camera was rediscovered in a private collection in Germany.

It's being auctioned off at the WestLicht Photographica Auction on May 29 in Vienna, Austria.

If you've got tons of money and a weakness for old, wooden sliding-box cameras, then this one's for you. It's from 1839 and has the signature of its namesake, Jacques Mandé Daguérre, and was actually built by his brother-in-law.

This is a neat piece of shutterbug history, and I truly hope it ends up in a museum collection where it can be viewed by the public rather than disappearing into another private basement museum.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo.