Wien. At the “39. Leitz Photographica Auction ”in the Hotel Bristol in Vienna, a“ Black Paint ”Leica from 1957 achieved the highest price at 1.2 million euros.
The Leica Camera Classics event took place on November 20, 2021, shortly before the Austria-wide lockdown. It positions itself as the world’s largest auction of vintage cameras for collectors and investors and has been held for two decades.
This time a Leica MP black paint no. 55 from 1957 was worth the price of 1.2 million euros to an anonymous bidder, according to the organizer. The sum is made up of the “hammer price” of 1 million euros and the “premium” of 20 percent: the latter goes to the auction house.
The special thing about the camera: The suggestion for the production of the MP model came in the mid-1950s from US press photographers such as Alfred Eisenstaedt and David Douglas Duncan, who quickly demonstrated the advantages of the Leicavit quick release, which at that time was only available for the Leica IIIf shot series of images made it possible to use them also for their Leica M cameras. It is said that only 141 MPs were made in black lacquer.
A lot of money for classic cameras
A total of 488 lots went under the hammer at the auction, with bidders from around 100 countries participating live on site, online or by phone. The auction items ranged from special editions of historic cameras to billboards from the 1920s. Manufactures from various manufacturers were auctioned.
It once again showed that Leica brand cameras are coveted collector’s items with often high prices – especially in the “black lacquer” version, it is said. “We have been observing this trend for a number of years now,” says Alexander Sedlak, Managing Director of Leica Camera Classics. At auction no. 38 in June 2021, a Leica IIIg black lacquer fetched around ten times its estimated value for 408,000 euros including premium.
Incidentally, not only black lacquered Leicas are good for high prices, rare lenses are also in demand: The Summarit M 1.4 / 5 cm First One Prototype No. A from 1958 (estimate 120,000 to 140,000 euros) was auctioned for 264,000 euros (price also included Premium).