The Leica 0-series is the Babe Ruth of cameras. No other model comes close to matching it in terms of prestige and value in the collectibles arena.
The reason? First you have Leica’s position as the grand dame of camera manufacturers. Then add in the fact the 0-series was the world’s first camera to use 35mm film – a move that revolutionised the industry.
One of just 12 Leica 0-series cameras still in existence
This example (no.122) is the pick of the 25 Leica made to test the public appetite for 35mm cameras in 1923.
So says WestLicht Camera Auction, the Austrian auctioneer offering the camera in its March 10 sale.
WestLicht states that no.122 is “probably the most original and best condition example, only about three cameras are known with the original folding viewfinder.
“It also has the unique film spool and take-up spool,” the company adds.
And that’s why we believe this example could break the camera auction record come March. The high mark stands at $2.8m, set by another of the Leica 0-series in 2012.
Just 12 of the 25 are thought to have survived the past 95 years.
The present camera, which has a highly conservative estimate of $1.1m, remains completely operational and has superb recent provenance, coming from the esteemed camera collection of Oakley founder Jim Jannard.
The Nikon One failed to catch on - it's rare today
Indeed all the cameras up for grabs are owned by Jannard.
These include a hugely rare Leica M3 prototype from the early 50s, valued at $490,000, and a Leica MP black paint no.MP-89. One of only 141, these are huge collector’s items, warranting an estimate of $306,000.
Away from the Leicas, a Nikon One from 1948 has a $22,000 valuation.
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