Using the NA49 main TPC, the central production of hyperons has been measured in CERN SPS Pb - Pb collisions at 158 GeV c-1. The preliminary ratio, studied at 2.0 < y < 2.6 and 1 < pT < 3 GeV c-1, equals ~ (13 ± 4)% (systematic error only). It is compatible, within errors, with the previously obtained ratios for central S + S , S + W , and S + Au  collisions. The fit to the transverse momentum distribution resulted in an inverse slope parameter T of 297 MeV. At this level of statistics we do not see any noticeable enhancement of hyperon production with the increased volume (and, possibly, degree of equilibration) of the system from S + S to Pb + Pb. This result is unexpected and counterintuitive, and should be further investigated. If confirmed, it will have a significant impact on our understanding of mechanisms leading to the enhanced strangeness production in heavy-ion collisions.