Leica 'Auction of the Century' will feature 100 rare cameras and photos

Westlicht Auction has dubbed its latest sale the 'Auction of the Century', offering 100 rare pieces of Leica camera hardware to mark the company's 100th anniversary.

Leica set the standard for modern professional photography, the history of which can be traced through Leica's hardware

The sale, set for May 23 in Germany, will offer "the most compelling selection of Leica landmark icons in history". Westlicht is certainly the auction house for the job, having previously sold the most valuable camera ever sold at auction.

Leica is one of the most prestigious camera manufacturers in the world, having produced the first 35mm film cameras - the standard among professional photographers for much of the 20th century.

The auction will begin with a telescope by Carl Kellner. Made in 1852, it is an early piece from the company that would later become Ernst Leitz GmbH, which is now divided into three independent businesses: Leica Camera, Leica Geosystems and Leica Microsystems.

Ernst Leitz GmbH began in optical engineering, until its first camera, the Ur-Leica prototype, was developed by employee Oscar Barnack in 1914. After convincing his boss, Ernst Leitz II, to make a pre-production series for testing, camera production became the main facet of the company.

Also featuring in the sale is a Leica I Mod. A with Anastigmat, the first commercial model produced, along with an original Leica Luxus - one of the most popular cameras from the company.

Cameras used by famous photographers from the world-renowned photo agency Magnum will provide the biggest draw for collectors, with Henri-Cartier Bresson, Rene Burri, Abbas, Bruno Barbey and Elliot Erwitt among the names on offer.

Following will be 100 lots of Leica-related photographs, with original images from Oskar Barnack's estate set to star.

Collectors will want to pre-order the special edition "100 Years of Leica" catalogue, a "very complete picture book of Leica brand development and history".

Later this month, on March 22, Westlicht Auction will offer the 70mm Hasselblad used on the Moon by astronaut Jim Irwin.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic selection of art & photography collectibles for sale.

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