A rare collection of 7 prototype Leica M cameras by Ralph Gibson is listed for $250,000

Leica Store Lisse is selling a rare collection of 7 prototype Leica M cameras by Ralph Gibson for $250,000 on eBay (check also their other listings).

Ralph Gibson’s Leica collection

Ralph Nelson’ Leica M4 cameras kit obtained by Leica Store Lisse

Ebay listing description:

Offered to you is this extremely rare and significant Leica collection of 7 “prototype” Leica cameras (and 1 lens) (!!) of one of the most iconic Leica photographers of all time Ralph Gibson. Ralph Gibson has long been considered one of the most significant still life photographers of his generation. His clear and precise imagery is quite unique. Last year, the photographer (born in 1939) was inducted into the Leica Hall of Fame. As an experienced Leica photographer, Gibson was one of the first to be given the opportunity to try out the new Leica Monochrom (M9) which was given to him at the time by Leica Store Lisse and is also offered in this auction itself (with a signed lens even). This collaboration between Gibson and Leica Store Lisse eventually resulted in the famous “MONO” book (with many exhibitions all over the world) as it also resulted in producing a limited edition of the silver Leica Monochrom with a silver 35mm/1.4 ASPH. lens (edition of only 35 pieces and of which the edition itself as for the prototype camera is included in this auction).

He has been working with different Leica cameras for over six decades, experimenting with new models over the years, and ultimately moving with Leica from analogue to digital (black and white) technology. We acquired all of these cameras and all of them are offered in this exceptional collection. Cameras will of course not be available for sale separately , it’s “only” the whole collection which is up for sale. There are no other photographers out there with this large amount of officially made Leica cameras dedicated to him, let alone so many gathered in one unique collection.

This is what the collection contains :

1) Leica M6 Titanium body (Leica number : 10412) which carries the serial number : 2422599. In a photo series of famous people / celebrities (all shot by Leica employee Michael Agel) which were shown in the Leica Museum at the time , Gibson is posing with this exact camera and this image is of course included as well. Uniquely, it also is the only Leica M6 titanium camera which has got an actual engraving mentioning the name Ralph Gibson at the back of it.

2) Leica MP body which is quite unique as it has an 0.85 finder, featuring a black chrome finish (instead of the standard black paint) and a nice red leatherette covering. Most uniquely, this camera has been used by Ralph Gibson himself and has a letter of authenticity included from him personally. Serial number of this camera is : 3008982 and carries limited edition number : 31/50.

3) Leica M7 body (Leica number : 10503), which was gifted to Ralph Gibson when he was asked by Leica to shoot the images for the brochure/magazine which was produced to show all the different Leica lenses (the brochure which is included in this auction is signed by Ralph Gibson as well). As a “thank you” for this shoot he was gifted this Leica M7 by Leica at the time. Regarding the M7 , this also carries his engraved signature and has got serial number : 2782746 and has got a 0,72 finder and comes in the original Leica box. Many of the pictures in the magazine have become iconic images and the one most well known (also for Leica) is the picture of the Leica “test-wall” (in Wetzlar,Germany) where he put a model in front of it. Also this signed image is included in this auction and has got the edition number : 3/25 (2003) and measures 40 x 50 cm.

4) Leica (M9) Monochrom (Leica number : 10760) camera “prototype” with signed Leica Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm ASPH(Leica number : 11892). The camera carries the engraved signature as it features the 50mm/1.4 lens. It’s both this Monochrom camera and lens which Ralph Gibson used and with which he created all the images which are published in the famous “MONO” book. The lens also features his signature which has been done with a felt tip pen. The body has got serial number : 4344404 and the lens has got serial number : 3992582 and both camera and lens are coming with the original boxes included.

5) Leica (M9) SILVER Monochrom body. This was / is the very first silver Leica Monochrom camera produced and which was / is the prototype camera for the eventually produced “Ralph Gibson” silver edition set . Besides the engraved signature is has got the serial number : 00/35 (only 1 piece has ever been produced).

6) Leica (M9) SILVER M Monochrom set “Ralph Gibson” (Leica number : 10776). It includes the Leica M Monochrom body “Ralph Gibson” together with a Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux both in silver finish and of which the sensor has already been upgraded/changed. High quality leather is used for the camera body and corresponding shoulder strap. In addition, this camera with accessories is designed in close collaboration with Ralph Gibson himself as for our own Leica Store Lisse of course which resulted into a Leica case which was only produced for this edition !! On the silver top of the camera the signature of Ralph Gibson is engraved. Furthermore included in the set is an exclusive gift box , similar as the one used for the Leica Hermes edition “at the time”, as it comes with a limited signed edition of the world famous book “MONO” by Ralph Gibson (also produced by Leica Store Lisse) together with a limited edition signed and numbered photo. The limited edition serial number from this set is : 22/35.

7) Leica (M246) Monochrom body (Leica number : 10930). The last camera of this extensive collection is the most modern camera, it’s the Leica M246 Monochrom prototype with signature engraving and carries serial number : 4974668 and comes in the original box.

8) Leica “MONO” portfolio which Leica Store Lisse also produced in collaboration with Ralph Gibson (and was / is shown all over the world as this one was for the exhibition at Leica itself at the time , in 2015 ,  at Leica Wetzlar as you can see on the attached image). The portfolio , which has been sold out by now , contains 10 Fine-Art digital prints which are all hand signed and numbered in the size of 33 x 42.5 cm, with passe-partout. It’s delivered in a black case with the “MONO” engraving on it and was limited to only 25 pieces (and 3 artist proofs) of which the one offered in the collection has got the number : 1/25 !!

Ralph Gibson is an American photographer best known for his fine-art images that explore the surreal visual nature of the subconscious. Utilizing visual fragments that resemble the way we see in dreams, Gibson’s images are mysterious, symbolic and often erotic. He was born in Hollywood, California in 1939. His father was an assistant director to Alfred Hitchcock and as a young boy he would visit the set during filming. He was impressed by the power of the camera lens and the intensity of the lights; this set him on the path to his later work in photography. Gibson is equally renowned for his contributions to the evolution of photographic book publication, in fact, one might say that he revolutionized it.  His deep concern with how a sequence of photographs can become a new and more meaningful unit in book form was evident in his first book The Somnambulist, with its carefully developed page transitions and meaningful sequencing.  He founded Lustrum Press in 1969 in order to ensure control over his published work, following The Somnambulist with additional landmark monographs such as Deja-Vu and Days at Sea. Over the years, Lustrum Press also allowed for the publication of other ground-breaking books such as Tulsa, by Larry Clark and The Lines of My Hand by Robert Frank. Gibson’s role in photographic fine art image making and book publication cannot be overestimated.  In addition to publications and exhibitions, he has given lectures and led workshops in over twenty countries.  He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; he has been awarded the Leica Medal of Excellence and is a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France. In 2018 he was appointed Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the president of France and as mentioned before , last year, the photographer was inducted into the Leica Hall of Fame.

Probably a once in a lifetime opportunity that you’re able to buy such a rare and extensive collection of complete and documented Leica cameras !! Please contact us for further information or more images when you want of course and you can imagine when offered in a Leica auction the prices for these will probably explode !!

Ralph Gibson: book release event “Mono” (video)

Leica photographers: Ralph Gibson (video)

Ralph Gibson – Live at Leitz Park (video)

Ralph Gibson received the Leica Hall of Fame Award, 2021 LOBA winners announced

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