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The camera purchase | classic Leica cameras, rarities, special models

This page is about the really rare specimens, the rarities, pre-war and special models, pre-series models (pilot series) and prototypes, factory cameras and cameras with small quantities and special serial numbers, Special editions, e.g. made for the Bundeswehr or Deutsche Post.

Such a "rare Leica" is characterized by the word "rare": Rare properties such as a special serial number, a special paint finish, a small structural detail that only recognized by experts as a special feature. In fact, the number of collector's items in circulation is manageably small. It is correspondingly rare that we are offered such a copy for purchase.

The market for Leica rarities takes place mainly in "closed" circles of collectors and dealers on specialized exchanges and international auctions and is limited to a few copies and models. Especially in this special market, the technical expertise and special market knowledge of the buying dealer is crucial in order to be able to recognize and correctly evaluate the rarities at Leica.

Thanks to our focus - especially on Leica - we have the experience and also the network". We are very grateful that we have been able to draw on the expertise of experts from the Leica city of Wetzlar for years when we receive important Leica rarities and rare collectors' items for purchase and evaluation. This gives us and our customers the security of a qualified assessment at all times, especially for special exhibits.

Black lacquered Leica M2 by the German photographer Dörte Gröning.
Gröning worked in the 1960s on behalf of Springer Verlag in London, among other places, and mainly provided image material for reports about prominent people of the time. Camera in used condition, with an attractive patina. Painted black with Leica Summicron 1:2/35mm.

Example: Leica M2 Black Paint

At the time, a black painted Leica "Black Paint" was a camera for the hard work of a press photographer, and the paintwork was unobtrusive, more unobtrusive than the similar chrome-plated models. Since the black paint did not hold well on the body surfaces, the paint chipping soon made these cameras look "unsightly", but this flaw is now a collector's trend, especially since black painted cameras were rare at the time. 

Recently preserved we received an inquiry for the purchase of a badly battered Leica M2, which decades ago provided valuable service to a well-known society photographer. Mario Adorf, Senta Berger, many early star shots for a well-known magazine were made with this camera. This circumstance makes a camera more interesting, but only conditionally more valuable.

But thanks to our assessment and mediation, this camera was offered on behalf of a customer at the "Wetzlar Camera Auctions", a special auction for high-quality collector's items. Some other - less specialized dealers - might not have recognized the importance and collectability of this rare Leica M2 Black Paint with the corresponding Leica Summicron 35mm 2.0. A hammer price of EUR 34,000 was reached at the camera auction.

In this way, we help many owners, often also heirs, of special collector's items to market them in the best possible way. Due to our specialization, we can fall back on direct contacts in the Leica city of Wetzlar for the expertise and value assessment of special and rare Leica exhibits. This creates the security of a qualified assessment at all times, especially for special exhibits, for us and our customers.

Impression of the Wetzlar Camera Auctions - annual special auction for classic cameras in Wetzlar

Example: Leica Noctilux 50mm 1.2 - Leica 11820

Among the classic Leica M lenses, the Leica Noctilux 50mm 1.2 is certainly one of the particularly rare and sought-after pieces. Leica speaks of one of "the most famous lenses for the Leica M system". It owes this award to its still impressive light intensity, its elaborately manufactured aspherical lenses and its high image quality with a unique look when the aperture is open.

The classic Leica Noctilux 1:1.2 /50 was made from 1966 to 1975 in an edition of 1757.
By the way: a new version is now available - with a careful adaptation to the design of modern lenses - as the Leica Noctilux-M 1:1.2/50 ASPH . available again in a limited edition.

In the range of Leica lenses that has grown over the decades, there are always such outstanding "rarities" with only small quantities, pre-series and prototypes, special serial numbers, colors and finishes, special editions. Or lenses with a special imaging behavior that is typical for the respective lens.

If such a lens now and then "appears" in a collection offered for sale, it is always a nice surprise. Especially for the owners, who are usually completely surprised when they learn more about the lens and its value.

Leica Klassik Line

Leica has been presenting classic cameras and legendary lenses in a new edition, so currently in the LEICA classic line the Leica M6 or the Leica Summilux-M 1.4 35mm "steel rim" and also the Noctilux listed above. The re-editions in the original vintage design and with the identical optical calculations from back then are manufactured in the Leica factory in Wetzlar. The Summilux-M 1.4/35mm steel rim is next to the Leica Summaron-M 5.6/28mm , the Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 and the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 ASPH. as the fourth member of the LEICA classic line, although the Thambar is now sold out.

The new editions try to target the collector's market and create "legends" similar to the original models and versions. For the used market, however, the new models mean competition to the classic models, which have meanwhile fallen in price on the market.

Special items require a special market and special attention

This means we can rely on a network of specialized partners and on direct contacts in the Leica city for the expertise and value assessment of special and rare Leica exhibits resort to Wetzlar. We work with selected specialist workshops and have several hundred repairs carried out each year. The high volume of orders ensures price advantages for us and gives us access to a wealth of experience. We maintain an extensive spare parts store of our own and thus ensure that many classic camera models can still be repaired decades later.

Beispiel: Ankauf eines Leica Noctilux 50mm 1.2

Auch bei diesem seltenen Leica Noctilux nutzen wir für unseren Kunden die Kontakte in den "Dunstkreis" ausgewiesener Leica Expertise. In Wetzlar besprechen wir das Objektiv mit den Leica-Koryphäen im Rahmen regelmäßiger, besonderer Veranstaltungen für Leica-Anwender und Sammler aus der ganzen Welt. So erreichen wir ein gleichermaßen interessiertes wie fachkundiges Publikum für den bestmöglichen Verkauf.

Gerade bei den seltenen Kamera- und Objektivklassikern bestimmen Sammlerwerte den entscheidenden Teil des Wertes bzw. Preises. Sammlerwerte übertreffen oft die üblichen Gebrauchswerte solcher besonderen Stücke um ein Mehrfaches.

Subjektive Kaufentscheidungen spielen hier für die Sammler eine besonders große Rolle, was sich auch an den tatsächlich erreichten Zuschlagspreisen bei den Leica-Auktionen zeigt, die oft deutlich über den Schätzpreisen liegen.

Mancher subjektiven Preisvorstellung stehen objektive Auffälligkeiten entgegen. Wie subjektive Einschätzungen sind eben auch die objektiven Tatsachen wie Patina, Gebrauchsspuren, Beschädigungen oder eben auch der perfekte Sammlerzustand jeweils für sich stark preisentscheidend.

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