Oskar Barnack’s personal Leica sells for $21M

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Oskar Barnack's personal Leica O-Series No. 105 has sold for 14.4 million euros ($21.7 million AUD) at auction, making it the most expensive camera ever sold. 

Image: Leitz Photographica Auction
Image: Leitz Photographica Auction

Sold at the recent Leitz Photographica Auction, Barnack’s Leica sold for nearly five times its highest estimation, and in doing so smashed the previous record of the world's most expensive camera. That was held by an 0-Series No. 122, which sold at the 32nd Leitz Photographica Auction in 2018 for 2.4 million euros (including buyer’s premium).

According to Leitz, the 0-Series, a batch of prototypes, holds special appeal for collectors. 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.

Image: Leitz Photographica Auction
Image: Leitz Photographica Auction

Only around a dozen of them are estimated to still be in existence today. 

This particular 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.

Another auction highlight was an analogue Leica MP with the serial number 5630769 and matching Leica Elmar-M 1:2.8/50. The camera and lens stem from a cooperation between Leica Camera AG and Leitz Photographica Auction, with the decorative metal exterior parts of the camera coated with a layer of real gold by electroplating. It sold under the hammer for 72,000 euros. 

Image: Leitz Photographica Auction
Image: Leitz Photographica Auction

You can see a great video on the Leica O-Series No. 105 as well as a bit of Leica history, in this video by the guys at DPReviewTV, below.

You can see all the results from the recent auction at the Leitz website. 

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