Here are the highlights from the upcoming 40th Leitz Photographica Auction (catalog now available)

The catalog for the upcoming 40th Leitz Photographica Auction is now available and can be found here (the auction will be held on 11 June at Leitz Park in Wetzlar):

In addition to Oskar Barnack’s 0-Series Leica camera that is expected to fetch over $3M, here are some of the other highlights from the upcoming 40th Leitz Photographica Auction:


  • Condition: B/A
  • Year: 1959
  • Estimate: €100,000 – 150,000
  • Starting price: €50,000

After the commercial success of the Leica M3, Leitz pushed ahead with research and development of other types of cameras. One of the projects was a high quality ultra compact camera for 16mm film. Numerous prototypes and design studies were produced in 1959. Although the project was at an advanced stage, research on it was halted and development halted once a complete camera had been manufactured. The lot offered here is an amazing collection of artefacts related to the mystical Leica 16. It includes two dummies (both already equipped with high quality viewfinders), three different forms of chassis, two aluminum bodies, two cover plates, two shutter prototypes, an interesting model of a retractable one Optics including glasses, etc. Also included in the lot are a large folder with a collection of original blueprints and parts lists for the Leica 16, three beautiful, hand-drawn large format parchment blueprints, as well as several hand drawings from the early stages of development. Many parts of this amazing historical outfit were shown and described in detail in “Vidom 122” on pages 16-39 (copy included in the lot). It is one of the most exciting discoveries in Leica history.


  • Condition: A
  • Year: c. 2020
  • Serial No.: 5630769
  • Estimate: € 16.000 – 20.000
  • Starting price: € 8.000

A unique analogue Leica MP with 0.72 finder, with all metal parts in galvanically gold-plated and with ostrich leather covering, the camera shows no engravings except for the serial number hidden on the underside of the winding lever, with special black Elmar-M 2.8/50mm no.3739015 with engravings filled with gold and red paint. The camera was made in only one example as cooperation between Leitz Photographica Auction and Leica AG. Included in this lot is a maker’s box for the body (without serial number) and a certificate of authenticity. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to a non-profit organization in Austria and Germany for charitable purposes.


  • Condition: B
  • Year: 1957
  • Serial No.: MP-26
  • Estimate: €300,000 – 350,000
  • Starting price: €150,000

The Leica MP was presented to the public as a novelty at the “Photokina” in Cologne in 1956. It was far more than a simple variation of the Leica M3. It is the only series model to have an individual number that differs fundamentally from the usual production numbers. With a total of just 412 units produced, the MP is one of the rarest Leica models of all time. The black lacquered version was only produced 141 times and was mainly purchased by professional photographers. Many of the famous Magnum photographers used MP cameras. Today it is one of the most coveted Leicas ever. The idea of ​​producing the MP model came from several well-known American press photographers who wanted to use the advantages of the Leicavit, which was only available for IIIf at the time, for their Leica M cameras as well. Above all, the suggestions of Alfred Eisenstaedt and David Douglas Duncan aroused the interest of Dr. Ludwig Leitz, who was head of the development and construction department in 1955. The camera offered here is in its original condition; the patina shows professional use. Since the previous owner only used the Leicavit to wind up the camera, the wind-up lever was shortened at his request. There is also a matching Leicavit MP in black lacquer and an early black lacquer Summicron 2/5cm No. 1474855 with brass mount (very good optics with only minimal traces of cleaning). The camera was originally shipped to Brandt, Sweden on 07/22/1957, the lens just a few days later on 07/30/1957 to the same location.


  • Condition: B/A
  • Year: 1933
  • Serial No.: 214546
  • Estimate: €100,000 – 120,000
  • Starting price: €50,000

Very rare Snapshot Leica in excellent condition, with original 35mm wide-angle viewfinder, (small crack in viewfinder) and prototype ‘Snapshot’ Elmar 4.5/3.5cm. This specialty lens has unique features such as click-stop focusing and the lack of a clutch and serial number. It is the only known example with a chrome finish and is in beautiful near mint condition complete with the special prototype sun visor. The Snapshot Leica was announced on the market, but ultimately never produced commercially. Only a few examples of this camera are known. The Snapshot Elmar, codenamed ELROO, is one of the rarest and most unique Leica lenses ever.


  • Condition: A
  • Year: 1961
  • Serial No.: 0000491
  • Estimate: €60,000 – 70,000
  • Starting price: €30,000

A highly interesting prototype of the Summilux 50mm, showing the evolution from the first to the second version of this famous lens. According to the factory documentation, the optical formula for this is named “B637a”, which is an evolution of the original “B635” calculation, but is not yet the final version of the lenses produced in Canada. Externally, too, the lens shows many distinctive and unique features such as the smaller diameter of the focusing ring, the different engraving of the depth of field scale, including markings for f:1.4 (not present on the production Summilux), or the special aperture ring with engravings similar to the prototypes of the Summarit 50mm f/1.4 lenses. The offered Summilux is in beautiful, almost new condition, with excellent optics.


  • Condition: A/B
  • Year: 1949
  • Serial No.: 790001
  • Estimate: €200,000 – 300,000
  • Starting price: €100,000

The famous prototype of the 60cm mirror telephoto lens, serial number 790001. The only example of this impressive lens ever made! With the lens hood retracted, the lens is 37 cm long; it has a diameter of 18 cm and a weight of 5 kg. It was designed by W. Albert and W. Mohr for operation with the Visoflex and equipped with a focusing bellows. A feature that is unusual in mirror lenses is the variable aperture from f:5 to f:11. The lens was part of the Leitz factory museum and still has the corresponding sticker “M476”. The original museum inventory card is also included in the offered lot. This unique lens is described in JL Lager, Vol. II “Objectives” on page 133, as well as in W. Albert “Birthdays of the Leitz photo constructions from 1927” on page 155. It is one of the most spectacular constructions by Leitz and certainly one of the most interesting Leitz objects ever.

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

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