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Some Highlights From The WestLicht Photographica Leica Auction on May 12th, 2012

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On May 12th, 2012, in a medium-sized but tightly-packed convention hall at WestLicht Photographica Auction House on Westbahnstresse 40 in Vienna, Austria, yet another auction milestone in photographic history will likely be made. 

As perhaps the world’s most renowned photographic auction house, WestLicht Photographica Auction has broken several records in recent years. In May 2011, a Leica from the 0-series from 1923 went under the hammer for 1.32 million (HK$13.47 million) - the highest price ever paid for a camera at auction, making it not just the most expensive Leica in the world but also the most expensive camera. In 2010, a Daguerrotype Giroux, the first commercially-produced camera in the world created by Louis Daguerre and Nicéphore Niépce, sold for 732,000 (HK$7.47 million). 

So with world economy apparently still suffering (it didn’t seem to stop the new owners of the Daguerrotype or the Leica 0 though, did it?), the question on everyone’s minds will be: will there be more records broken this year or will collectors have also felt the pinch of the global economy too? 

Hit the link below to read more. 

We predict there will be no records broken this year apart from perhaps the gold-plated Leica or the Shanghai Leica copy in their own respective categories of…value. We may be wrong, however: those mainland-Chinese pockets are the widest and deepest in the known world these days, so perhaps the pocket-busting trend will continue. What is certain, is that the Leica 0 will definitely sell for more than the rather conservative WestLicht estimate of 600,000-800,000. 

With that in mind, here are just a few of the photographic gems which will be appearing at the 21st WestLicht Photographica Camera Auction on May 12th, 2012: 

Leica 0-Series no 116 (1923)

Only approx. 25 of these cameras were produced to test the market in 1923, 2 years before the commercial introduction of the Leica A. The camera is in excellent and fully working condition, all parts including the paintwork are original, with the matching lens cover, the folding finder has been replaced by the later Galilean finder as usual. The camera is one of the major rarities in camera history, Leica 0-series no.107 was sold in our 19th auction for a world-record price of Euro 1.320.000 including commission. 

Opening Bid: 300,000 EUR

Estimate: 600,000-800,000 EUR


Leica I Mod.A Elmax no. 391 (1926)

Leica I Mod.A with 5-element Elmax in original condition (first version, which was similar to the Anastigmat cameras), ratcheted film wind, early finder, vulcanite, mushroom shutter release, base-plate (open-close), black painted cap - as most early Elmax cameras have been upgraded during servicing by Leitz with removing original parts it is extremely hard to find cameras in original condition.

Opening Bid: 8,000 EUR
Estimate: 14,000-18,000 EUR


Leica M3 Single Stroke Black Paint no.1078574 (1963)

100% original black paint body (from officially batch of 300 cameras) in beautiful and perfect working condition (clean finder), no dents, no repaint, only light brassing near strap lugs

Opening Bid: 6,000 EUR
Estimate: 10,000-12,000 EUR


Leica M3 gold no. 834000 (1956)

One of only two known M3 cameras originally gold plated by Leitz with gold plated collapsible Summicron 2/5cm no.1379604, gold plated cap, gold plated Leica Meter MC no.51310. According to delivery records the camera was shipped to Ernst Leitz New York on July 28th, 1956 (copies of the Leitz delivery records are included). The camera is illustrated in colour by Jim Lager vol.I p.156

Opening Bid: 40,000 EUR
Estimate: 70,000-90,000 EUR


Shanghai Red Flag 20 Outfit no. 73006 (c. 1973)

Extremely rare complete outfit of the Chinese M4 copy (less than 200 were produced by direct order of the government, none were sold to the public) body in very fine, working condition, with all three matching lenses: 1.4/35mm (Summilux copy) no.75066 (original caps), 1.4/50mm (Summilux copy) no.73006 (same serial number as camera, original hood, cap), 2/90mm (Summicron copy no.710020, caps), all lenses in fine condition.

Opening Bid: 25,000 EUR
Estimate: 40,000-50,000 EUR

(WestLicht Photographica Auction