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Capitalism prevails! This rare Soviet spy lens will set you back $400,000

It’s not uncommon for highly unique and collectible camera gear to appear on eBay, but a listing for an antique Soviet lens made us do a double take because, at almost half-a-million dollars, it’s possibly the most expensive piece of glass we have ever seen listed. It also raises a lot of eyebrows.

The “genuine spy lens with rare-earth type glass,” as described by the seller, was built for the USSR Air Force. It’s a large-format, 400mm f/4.5 “aircraft lens with filter and cap.” Even though it’s “very used,” it’s in excellent “working shape.” Other claims include, as written by the seller: “Employed into best Soviet early aerospace developments, such lenses were used in USSR’ satellite probes and station in 1960’s”; “real unique lens – just one” but “only few of those was made totally, this one is N# 35”; “related to Zeiss’ World War II Luftwaffe lenses, with a critically upgraded to coated precious glass.”

When you list something so extravagantly expensive (we’re talking about Westlicht auction house prices, folks), the authenticity of the product is questioned. As PetaPixel rightly points out, there are a lot of unanswered questions that makes this listing a bit suspicious – the horribly written description of the product, in various font types and sizes, doesn’t help. Who made it? Why is the Sotheby’s name mentioned several times? If it’s one-of-its-kind, why does the seller have another one listed for less money (a commenter noted that he has the same lens but in far better condition, to which the seller says his is “museum exhibit”? Who is the real manufacturer of this lens? Also, when it was first reported, the lens had a “Buy It Now” price of $488,000, but now it’s down to $400,000. We have a feeling that the seller isn’t going to fetch what he/she is asking for.

The good news? The seller, who has other pricey collectibles listed and has a 99.4-percent positive feedback, is throwing in free shipping.

(Via Pop Photo; images via Dallsom)

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