Leica is occupying an industry sweet spot at the moment: its current cameras are critically acclaimed and highly sought-after, while collectors are also willing to pay big money for its historic models.

The biggest Leica auction is the Leitz Photographica Auction, held at the company HQ in Leitz Park, Wetzlar, Germany. The most recent (the 44th) has concluded with several notable sales of storied cameras and accessories.

Paint it black

The most notable lot was a Leica MP2 black paint from 1958, developed for professional use in photojournalism; only six examples of it in black paint were produced. This particular Leica MP2 achieved the highest price of the auction at 1,560,000 euros including premium (£1,315,755 and US$ 1,673,170).

Leitz Photographica Auction, MP2
The Leica MP2 which went under the hammer at the Leitz Photographica Auction. Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction

A version of the Leica M2 which first came to market in 1958, the Leica MP2 was modified for professional use and can take up to 3.5 photos per second thanks to a special electric motor drive.

Charities benefit from the Leitz Photographica Auction

The oldest Leica camera to make big money was the Leica I Mod A. Luxus, featuring a gold-plated body and special leather covering, hence the ‘Luxus’ (luxury) tag. Manufactured in 1931, the camera has the serial number 48438, and, unusually, had never been restored. It sold for a distinctly luxury price of 288,000 euros (£242,883).

Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction, Luxus
Some world call it bling, Leica calls it ‘Luxus.’ Credit: Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction

As well as catering to well-heeled Leica collectors from all over the world, the auction raises money for charity. This year, a prototype Leica Summilux 1.4/35mm lens sold for 33,600 euros – £28,337 – with proceeds going to the Austrian charitable organisation, Licht ins Dunkel, which helps families whose kids are facing a range of challenges.

Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction, charity lens
The lens sold for charity. Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction

The sold lens bears the serial number 0000030 and shows four screws visible on the front rim, which are not present on the production version (collectors lap this stuff up). The production version of the lens was launched in 1961 and was manufactured in several versions for over 35 years.

Future Leitz Photographica Auctions

There are two more events in autumn, both in Vienna. On the 18th of October, the “Gestures” auction will take place at the Leica Gallery Vienna. Subsequently the iconic Hotel Bristol on Vienna’s Ringstrasse will host the Leitz Photographica Auction 45 on the 23rd of November.

Further reading
Leica SL3 interview: “Our products are not cheap, but they keep their value”
Turn your iPhone into a Leica