It's The Most Expensive Camera Ever Sold When A $15 Million Vintage Leica Shatters Estimates
It is almost five times as much as the original high estimate of $3.22 million, which was made in early February.
An old Leica camera that was created in the early 1900's has recently become the most expensive camera that has ever been sold at auction.
There is an incredible opportunity to purchase a century-old rarity, which is part of the famous Leitz O-Series, for a record sum of $15.1 million (€14.4 million), at the Leitz Photographica Auction's 20th birthday celebration on Saturday. In 2018, another 0-Series camera, serial number 122, that sold for $2.9 million in 2018 had also won the world record for camera sale. This new world record (serial number 105) has taken it from another 0-Series camera (serial number 122) that was sold for almost five times the original estimated price of $3.2 million.
Ernst Leitz Wetzlar (who founded the company that would eventually become Leica in 1923) released a limited number of prototypes in 1923 to test the market, of which this particular example represents one of only 23 which had been produced.
After only two years in series production, the Leica A would enter the market as the first 35mm camera to be built by the company. It is important to note that while the model received mixed reactions at the time of its introduction, it became the new industry standard and forever changed what professional photographers do.
This 99-year-old model not only has historical significance, but it is also extremely rare due to the fact that it is 99 years old. As a matter of fact, according to the auction house, it's one of only "around a dozen" O-Series cameras that are still in existence today, and would be a real rarity. Aside from having been the personal camera of Oskar Barnack, the inventor of the 35mm Leica, it was also the camera of the man who invented it.
According to Rich Report, the German photographer used the camera from 1910 until 1930 before handing it over to his son Conrad and starting to use a Leica I Model C with interchangeable lenses in place of the Leica I. After the Barnack family owned the heirloom for more than a century, it was sold to a passionate US collector in 1960, and it remained in the family until 1990.
The vintage camera, which has Barnack’s first and last names engraved onto the viewfinder, was presented with the original leather lens cap, a later aluminum cap engraved with the initials “O.B.” and a heavily modified Nettle Camera that Barnack used for photographic research.
Before the sale, the auctioneers claimed this Leica was one of the most important cameras in photography history. Now it’s the most expensive, too.