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Rare Aerial Photographs of UAE for Sale at Sharjah International Book Fair

A hitherto unknown collection of historic aerial images of the UAE is currently for sale for a whopping Dh500,000.

At the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), a remarkable and previously undisclosed collection of original aerial photographs of the United Arab Emirates, captured shortly after the nation’s formation, is now available at an astounding Dh500,000.

Historic Aerial Survey:

These unreleased photographs represent the earliest and most detailed aerial survey of the UAE, taken between 1975 and 1977. 

The collection, titled the ‘Only Surviving Set of the Original Aerial Survey of the UAE,’ includes each photograph marked with its date and approximate altitude.

Classified History:

The photographs were classified and reserved exclusively for the military’s use, making this release a momentous occasion for collectors and historians alike. 

The Emirati military relied on this collection for early mapping of the desert region, a challenging task given the topography. 

Aerial surveillance provided a valuable means to record the land for the newly formed Union.

Targeting Government Ministries, Universities, and Museums:

The exhibition spokesperson expressed the hope that the collection will find its new home in government ministries, universities, or museums. 

The value of the photographs is determined based on their rarity and the difficulty in finding similar historical artifacts.

International Ownership:

The complete collection is jointly owned by three companies: UAE-based EQTNA, Austrian Antiquariaat INLIBRIS, and Antiquariaat FORUM from the Netherlands. 

These companies are renowned for their collections of rare books on astronomy and science, maps, and unique photographs, including an original signed portrait of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan from 1970.

A Highlight at SIBF:

The aerial photographs of the Emirates stand out as a star attraction in their exhibition at the 42nd edition of the SIBF, hosted at the Expo Centre Sharjah. 

Known globally as one of the largest book fairs, the SIBF draws an international audience with its diverse range of programs, showcasing the rich cultural and historical heritage of the UAE.

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