Leica Luxus I camera auctions for $962,518 world record

A rare Leica Luxus I camera has highlighted Bonhams' first auction dedicated to the collectible brand, selling for $962,518, 314.4% above its $232,247 estimate and a world record for the model.

The Hong Kong sale on November 23 was also the first Leica auction to be held in Asia, with more than 250 lots from the prestigious manufacturer offered from two major private collections.

Leica Luxus camera
The Leica Luxus I - one of just 95 ever made

The circa 1930 top lot's handsome price can be attributed to its extreme rarity. Just 95 were produced, all to order, and far fewer remain today.

The camera's provenance also added to its attraction. It originally came from the collection of EJ Newton, the first president of the Leica Historical Society, who then sold it to the consignor.

Also featuring was an early example of the M3 Black from the 1950s, which sold for $40,319. Leica is thought to have made just 1,320 units.

Jon Baddley, Bonhams' head of collectables, commented: "The results more than justify our belief in the idea of bringing these wonderful cameras to China which has a rapidly emerging market for vintage cameras.

"We took a bit of a gamble but it has paid off handsomely. Already we can see that this market is outstripping New York and London."

Leicas were first introduced to the photographic community at the Leipzig Trade Fair in 1925, by the German scientific instrument company Ernst Leitz. 

Leica M3 black
A rare example of the M3 Black

One of just 25 Leica 0-Series cameras - which were used to test the market in 1923 - sold for a camera auction record of $2.8m in May.

We are currently offering a range of great photography collectibles, including an autographed copy of Yousef Karsh's Karsh a Fifty-Year Retrospective.

Paul Fraser Collectibles will continue to bring you the latest on the world's camera auctions right here.

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