Westlicht Auction’s 22nd Camera Sale in Vienna, 24 November 2012
On that same day, photographer Blake Andrews, a member of the In-Public street photography collective, posted a series of pictures of his own battered Leica M6 (with Summicron-C 40mm).
"What’s interesting is that many of the cameras sold for extremely high prices were extremely well-worn.” (PetaPixel.com)
With a price of €1.68 million, or roughly $2.18 million, the legendary Leica M3D Black Paint (with black Leicavit and Summilux 1.4/50mm with special focusing lever) became the most expensive camera from a serial production ever. It is the second-highest price ever paid for a camera. Last May, a 1923 Oskar Barnack prototype Leica O-Series camera (only 12 of the 25 ever made exist today) became the most expensive camera on the planet after being sold for roughly €2.16 million at a WestLicht auction.
The 1955 camera, a forerunner of all MP cameras, was one of four that was specially customized by Leitz for American LIFE photojournalist and Picasso intimate David Douglas Duncan (currently 96 years old). The camera is complete with special crank on rewind knob and Duncan’s original strap
The first Leica I(A) “Luxus” gold plated camera and lizard skin body (with 50mm f3.5 Elmar) dated 1929 was sold for €1.020.000, making it the second most expensive camera of the auction. Only 95 of this Leica models were produced between 1929 and 1931.
The very first serial-production Leica M3 ever made in 1953 (engraved with the serial number 700001) was sold at a top price of €900,000 or roughly $1.17 million. It was never sold to the public, but was instead kept by Leica’s chief designer of Leitz at the time, Willi Stein. The camera is in “near mint condition”.
These three cameras are therefore the most expensive cameras produced in a series, ever sold.
The three Leica MP cameras of the Magnum photographer Paul Fusco achieved sensational 858,000 Euro.
The first Leica II(D) (with a Elmarit 2.8/28mm) (1930) owned by the famous Magnum co-founder Robert Capa was worth 78,000 Euro to a collector.
At the accompanying Photography Auction Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare (Lot 1092) also proved itself a coveted collector’s item: opening at €7,000, it finished at €12,600.