The Rare Leica Camera That Smashed Auction Records

Leading view of Leica -Collection no.105, one of 23 prototypes that preceded the industrial launch of the initial Leitz 35 mm camera. (all images courtesy Leica Digital camera Classics)

They say a photograph is truly worth a thousand text, but that pales in comparison to a camera really worth more than $15 million. Which is the new planet record for the sale of a digicam, set this summer at the Leitz Photographica Auction, when a Leica -Sequence No. 105 hammered for €14.4 million (about $15,151,847 at the time of the June 11 sale).

The auction takes place 2 times a 12 months and is considered between the world’s greatest and most renowned for classic cameras and other optical tools via its affiliation with the Leitz Camera. Acknowledged colloquially as Leicas, the Leitz Digicam was the world’s initial 35mm camera, and classic products are eminently collectible as artifacts of present day images. Having said that, the Leica that broke auction documents in June was one thing additional distinctive — 1 of approximately 22 models in the prototype “0-Series” developed by Ernst Leitz, the camera’s inventor, prior to it went into extensive launch in the mid-1920s.

The digital camera, approximated to fetch in between €2–3 million, shattered estimates and documents.

Even more enhancing the provenance of the virtually 100-yr-outdated camera was its affiliation with a notable past operator, Oskar Barnack. Barnack was an inventor and German photographer who made the so-called “Liliput camera” in 1913, creating a prototype for what would later grow to be the to start with commercially productive 35mm nonetheless digital camera at Ernst Leitz Optische Werke in Wetzlar, Germany. Barnack applied the -Sequence 105 to seize times from his loved ones daily life and utilized the working experience he attained in the procedure to more develop the camera for shopper use. His identify is engraved on the best of the viewfinder of No. 105, building it a actually distinctive merchandise, steeped quite a few moments in excess of in the origins of fashionable photography.

The camera was as soon as owned by Oskar Barnack, who assisted develop the Leitz Digital camera for purchaser use.

But while the distinctive character of the digicam drew auction predictions of €2,000,000 to 3,000,000, it appeared no a single was prepared to see it draw approximately five situations the significant estimate by hammer drop. Previously, the most costly digital camera in the earth — also an -Collection, serial amount 122 — was marketed at the 32nd Westlicht camera auction in Vienna, Austria, in 2018 for $2.96 million.

The incredible price tag accomplished by No. 105 underlines “the fascination in traditionally substantial objects from the entire world of pictures, which has been consistently raising for a long time,” according to Alexander Sedlak, Controlling Director of Leica Digicam Classics.

You gotta like-a that Leica!

Clearly, Leicas also have a lengthy and symbiotic marriage with pictures as an art sort. Photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, who famously reported “the digicam is an extension of the eye,” extended his eye by a 35mm Leica. William Eggleston was also a admirer, amassing some 300 Leicas in his personalized selection. From the candid profession of Bruce Davidson to the studio arsenal of Annie Leibovitz‘s hugely structured shoots, Leicas have helped condition the very last century of professional, hobbyist, and great artwork images.

The identification of the purchaser remains undisclosed, but whoever they are, they showed their determination to owning a piece of photographic background.

Angelia S. Rico

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