Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Buster Keaton's personal portable 35mm movie camera. (ca. 1920s) William Randolph Hearst was a very private person, yet his ingénue, Marion Davies, loved parties. When Hearst built his mythical Castle, hoping to somewhat isolate himself from the chaos of life, Davies insisted that they celebrate with a huge weekly guest list. There was so much to see and do that Marion created expensive and elaborate parties with thoughtful gifts based upon her guest's personal interests. Serious filmmakers might have been gifted beautiful still or motion picture cameras. Although this public intrusion concerned Hearst, for a time he allowed guests to photograph the Castle and its guests (within reason). Several of these gifts remain. Ms. Davies gifted Buster Keaton this Devry Lunch Box camera, which he used to photograph his antics while at the Castle. By today's standards it is somewhat large (7 x 4 x 8.5 in.), but its size allowed it to accommodate a 100 ft. spool of 35mm film and even an additional lens within the body. It was a great party favor that Keaton himself carried around when location scouting. Engraved "B. Keaton Films '26" on the metal interior panel. Bert Haines, Keaton's cinematographer on The General, confirmed the details regarding this camera. In vintage, very good condition. Special shipping arrangements will apply. Comes with a letter of provenance from Roy H. Wagner, ASC.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    17th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 16
    Sold on May 17, 2014 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 12 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    This is the most impressive book I have ever seen!
    Daniel R.,
    Rockville, MD
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search