Korona Special Presentation, 1903
Top view showing a star and the four card suits.
Left - front of camera and right shows the rear.
Copyright ©2009 by Rob Niederman - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Return to the Self-Casing Cameras page
Specially commissioned cameras are rare gems-momentos-
of which the best show off the art of a builder.
Most are straightforward designs with minor embellishments and a small dedication plaque.

But every so often, a presentation camera representing a higher level of artisanship is found. What appears to be a modified No.4 Cartridge Kodak is actually a highly customized Korona Special plate camera (Gundlach Optical Co.).

In place of simple leather embossed lines outlining the perimeter of the body, the art of the craftsman is on full display with deep reliefs of elegant floral motifs adorning the body panels.

The dramatic reliefs are achieved by pressing paper-thin leather into an unusually thick, carved wood body.

White metal corners - possibly German silver - compliment the carvings and further add to the camera's air of sophistication and expense.

Other refinements slowly reveal themselves on closer inspection; hidden button latches under the leather are replaced by locks that open with a small key (loose the key and you are in trouble!), mahogany insets in the drop bed, a reflex finder shade made of copper, and the use of plush purple velvet to absorb light in the film chamber.
Multi-Lens Cameras | View Cameras | Self-Casing Cameras | Solid Body Cameras | References & Advertisements
Home | What's New | Show Schedule | Wanted | For Sale | Links | Site Map | Email
However, the overall theme of the camera is odd and confusing. The top of the camera has reliefs of the four suits found on playing card (clubs, spades, diamonds and hearts) and a five point star is beneath the strap. The year 1903 prominently takes up most of the drop bed.
Korona Special Presentation Camera, 1903
Gundlach Optical Company or Unknown Craftsman
Left Top view of the Korona Special shows embossing with four card suits and a five point star underneath the strap.

Below Left The year 1903 is carved into the bottom of the drop bed.

Below Right The rear of the camera is adorned with floral motifs on the doors and panels.
What occasion or person was in mind for this camera? -- Maybe the winner of a big card tournament? A card-shark gardener?

No references to this camera have been found, but feel free to e-mail if you have ideas.