Oskar Barnack’s 0-Series Leica camera expected to fetch over $3M at the next Leitz Photographica Auction

The 20th anniversary of the Leitz Photographica Auction will be special (will be held on 11 June at the Leitz Park in Wetzlar): it will offer for auction the historically unique Leica 0-Series camera with a serial number 105. This was the personal camera of Oskar Barnack, the inventor of 35 mm photography.

Heree are some of the other Leica cameras that will be offered at the auction:

Additional information and pictures for the Leica 0-series No.105 ‘Oscar Barnack’ camera:


Year: 1923
Serial No.: 105
Estimate: € 2.000.000 – 3.000.000
Starting price: € 1.000.000

Only approximately 23 of 0-Series Leicas were produced in 1923 to test the market, two years before the commercial introduction of the Leica A. Only around a dozen survived to the present day. Among these extremely rare cameras, one is of particular historical importance. The 0-Series with the serial number 105 was the personal camera of the the inventor of 35 mm photography – Oskar Barnack.

This inconspicuous-looking black-painted camera shows a patina of years of use. Some of the parts have been exchanged by the owner. The Galilean finder shows a distinctive engraving on the top: ‘Oscar Barnack’. The inventor used the camera until 1930, when he gave it to his son, Conrad, and began using a Leica I Model C with interchangeable lenses. It stayed in the family ownership until 1960, when it was sold to a passionate U.S. collector. The lot includes an original leather lens cap on a string, later aluminium cap, engraved with initials ‘O.B.’ and heavily-modified Nettel camera that Barnack used for his photographic research studies, as well as numerous documents and letters concerning the Barnack’s camera. The Leica 0-Series no.105 we have a pleasure to offer for sale is not only the most distinguished Leica existing but also one of the major historical milestones from the history of photography.

Press release:

Renowned auction house “Leitz Photographica Auction” celebrates its 20th anniversary, holding the world’s largest auction of historic cameras for the 40th time. Among the unique collectibles and extraordinary examples of camera history up for auction on June 11 at the Leitz Park – the international Leica headquarters in Wetzlar – an exceptional highlight stands out: the Leica 0-Series No. 105 produced in 1923.

The 0-Series, a batch of prototypes, holds a special appeal for collectors of historically significant technical artifacts. Before the Leitz Camera – Leica for short – went into series production in the mid-1920s and made the 35mm format the new standard for professional photographers, approximately 20 examples of the 0-Series were manufactured. Around a dozen of them are estimated to still be in existence today.

The 0-Series No. 105 is not only exceptional because of its rarity, it was also one of the personal cameras of Oskar Barnack, the inventor of 35mm photography, whose name adorns the viewfinder of the camera. Barnack used the 105 to capture motifs from his family life, gaining technical insights he then applied to the further development of the camera and its succeeding models. The historical significance of the 0-Series No. 105 as well as its famous previous owner are reflected in its estimated price of 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 euros. The starting bid is 1,000,000 euros. To put these sums in perspective: The world’s most expensive camera to date – the 0-Series No. 122 – sold at the 32nd Leitz Photographica Auction in 2018 for 2.4 million euros (including buyer’s premium).

Custom-made for a good cause

At the upcoming auction, the Leica 0-Series No. 105 is the most outstanding camera among numerous remarkable exhibits. Those traditionally include, for instance, the charity lot, the proceeds of which will be donated to charities in Austria and, for the first time, Germany. To celebrate Leitz Photographica Auction’s anniversary, a unique camera set will be auctioneered for a good cause. The analogue Leica MP with the serial number 5630769 and the Leica Elmar-M 1:2.8/50 with the serial number 3739015 are unique pieces that stem from a cooperation between Leica Camera AG and Leitz Photographica Auction. The decorative metal exterior parts of the camera were coated with a layer of real gold by means of electroplating.  The camera’s top plate has a further special feature: It does not bear any of the typical engravings. The camera’s serial number is discreetly engraved on the underside of the winding lever, making this particular Leica MP unique. The set is complemented by a black Leica Elmar-M 1:2.8/50, reworked directly at Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar. Instead of the usual engravings laid out in white paint, this lens has gold-colored engravings to match the camera.

‘Leitz Photographica Auction’ is one of the world’s leading auction houses for classic and vintage cameras and photographica, and is now firmly established on the international scene. A rare example of the Leica 0-Series produced in 1923 was a sensational highlight at the auction in 2018. The camera achieved a record-breaking hammer price of 2.4 million euros and still holds the record for the highest price ever paid for a camera sold by auction.

Bids for the upcoming auction on June 11 can be submitted in advance – online (www.leitz-auction.com), in written form or by telephone. Live bidding during the auction is possible on site at Hotel Bristol in Vienna or at www.leitz-auction.com and www.liveauctioneers.com.

40th Leitz Photographica Auction
Where: Leitz Park, Wetzlar (Germany)
When: 11. June 2022 11h CET

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