Vintage Leica cameras to go under the hammer

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 4th August, 2015

A single owner collection of highly sought after Leica cameras – including the first model marketed successfully to the public at the 1925 Leipzig Spring Fair – will go under the hammer from 2pm Thursday August 6 at Leonard Joel 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

The Leica I (lot 2) for auction was manufactured in 1929, carries the number 19082 and has an Elmar 3.2 lens.

The name Leica is a combination of the first three letters of its inventor Ernst Leitz surname and the first two from the word camera.

With prototypes built in 1913 at the Ernst Leitz Optische Werke in Wetzlar Germany, the camera was the first practical invention of its type to use 35mm film and was intended as a compact for landscape photography.

While developments of the prototypes received mixed receptions from photographers asked to trial them, they were a resounding success at the Leipzig fair.

In 1930, Leica developed an exchangeable lens system based on a 29mm screw thread and two years later introduced the Leica II with a built in rangefinder coupled to the lens focusing mechanism.

Lot 6 is a Leica II outfit in a fitted leather suitcase with several lenses, cassettes, sunshade, filter and lens cap.

Lot 38 is a superb rendition of the Leica M3, introduced in 1954 with a bayonet type lens mount as the first of the M cameras still manufactured today.

Among its other developments, the new camera combined the rangefinder and viewfinder into one large, bright viewfinder with an even brighter double image in the centre.

This particular camera was made in 1959 as part of a production run that ended seven years later and has a 0.92 magnification finder – the highest of any M camera ever made.


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