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 Voskhod-2 Flown Konvas Camera Going to Auction
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Posted - May 25 2022 :  5:10:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I've been a lurker here for a little while, but I am excited to come here and share that two of my cameras involved in early Soviet space missions are going to be available in Heritage Auctions' Signature Space Exploration Auction on June 2! I wanted to post the links to the items here as well as share some additional information not included in the item descriptions online.

Voskhod-2 Flown Konvas Automat 1-KCP Issued to Pavel Belyaev

Soyuz-11 Reserve Konvas Automat 1-KCP Issued to Alexei Leonov

After these respective missions were flown (though ending tragically in the case of Soyuz-11), the cameras from these missions were presented to former Red Army general and First Secretary of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Republic Gennedy Kuprianov. Kuprianov was an avid collector of cameras and independent filmmaker who became very well associated with the space program after his military accolades were returned to him following his implication in the Leningrad Affair. They were sold by Kuprianov's estate in 1990 roughly ten years after his passing.

When I purchased these cameras from a collector based in Kazakhstan, it was originally advertised that both of these cameras were flown aboard Voskhod-2, and it was understandable considering Leonov and Balyaev were both on that mission. However, I immediately noticed some discrepancies in the color of the cameras, the internal serial numbers, and it didn't quite make sense to me that two 35mm movie cameras would be necessary to bring on the mission considering how tiny the capsule was.

After speaking with a professor based in northern KZ, we uncovered that the matte grey/green painted Konvas cameras were designed by KMZ to designate cameras for reserve crews beginning in 1971. Silver 1-KCP cameras, however, were designated for primary flight crews beginning with the start of the Voskhod program and continued through the early Soyuz missions (photos of Vladimir Shatalov with his Soyuz-4 camera, the Soyuz-7 crew with their camera, and Belyaev with his camera are available on the Heritage website). As cameras were only designated to crew commanders, we were able to piece together that Leonov was originally given a silver camera as the intended primary crew commander of the mission, only to be given the matte camera when the two crews were abruptly swapped just four days before launch after original flight engineer Valery Kubasov tested positive for tuberculosis.

As far as my research extends, the Voskhod camera is the first Soviet space-flown camera from before 1990 sold at auction. Some duplicate models and prototypes from the space program have seen success at auction in the past, so I am hopeful that they will perform well.
sean perry
United Kingdom
287 Posts
Posted - Jul 18 2022 :  11:09:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello and welcome to the forum, will.

Very interesting cameras you've got there. How big are they? Could they still be used, even by people who aren't in a spacecraft?
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