Auctions

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Amateur photographers, tired of electronic cameras, are buying usable old-fashioned mechanical ones at auction. Mechanical cameras feel more solid than plastic electronic boxes, and then there is the nostalgia factor - why not buy that Leica or Nikon they could not afford as a teenager?

Older cameras are more expensive than their modern electronic counterparts at auction. A top mechanical Leica from 1954 to 1975 might be £600- £1,000 compared with £600-£700 for a modern one; a Nikon from 1959 and 1978 might get £250-£400 compared with £250-£300 for a modern.

BEST OF THE REST

Prints on paper at Christie's South Kensington, Thursday (10.30am). A Whistler etching of a little boy, seated, might go for £400-£600. There are two prints of Samuel Palmer's etching The Early Ploughman of 1860- 79; one has a margin trimmed inside the platemark - a horror to some collectors.

Bonhams' first dedicated Clarice Cliff sale last November had 673 lots and sold 90 per cent. On Friday (2pm), there are only 288 lots. It will be interesting.

Stuffed birds have not been at London auctions for about a decade - taxidermy regulations stopped it. But they are back at Bonhams' third natural history sale, Thursday (2pm). A spectacular peacock is est £350-£450.

COUNTRYWIDE

Ilkley: Dolls, toys, tinplate, stationary steam engines, next Saturday (1pm). Andrew Hartley, Little Lane (01943 816363).

Truro: Horticultural equipment, next Saturday (10.30am). Falconport, Truro Livestock Centre. Lodge & Thomas (01872 72722).

Reading: Power tools, sanders, drills, saws, chisels, Wednesday (10.30am). W H Rhyder, Randolph Road. Wycombe Auction Centre (01494 474522).

Manchester: Catalogue and fancy goods, 4,500 children's story cassettes, plus clothing, Thursday (11am) at Auction International, Strangeways (0161 832 2400).

Leominster: Books, cigarette cards, musical instruments, Wednesday and Thursday (10am). Russell Baldwin Bright (01568 611166).

FAIRS

Hinchingbrooke House Antiques, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, today-Monday (Crown Antique Fairs; 0123 353016).

Elvaston Castle, Borrowash, Derby, tomorrow-Monday (Tudor Fairs; 01159 459321).

Brunel Clock and Watch, Brunel University, Uxbridge, next Saturday (Horological Fairs; 01895 834357).

Countrywide: Antiques Trade Gazette (0171-930 4957), Government Auction News (0171-928 9001, hotline 0891 887700).

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