Dummy Leicaflex model (Pic: Leitz Auction)
The dummy model used to belong to the Leitz Museum (All pics: Leitz Auction)

How much would you pay for a Leicaflex SLR?

How much would you pay for a Leicaflex that doesn’t work.

If the answer is anything up to €14,000 (around £12,600 or $15,000) then there probably isn’t any point in bidding on a certain Leicaflex coming up for sale at the Leitz Auction in Austria next month.

But this Leicaflex isn’t a once-working model that’s seized up after sitting in someone’s attic for the last 30 years – in fact, it was never supposed to function at all.

The Leicaflex, of course, was Leitz’s first proper SLR, first released in 1964 in an effort to stem the flight from rangefinders like the Leica to the new all-singing, all-dancing SLRs made in Japan. The Leicaflex was followed by the SL and SL2 models, and then the R range of SLRs which were in production until the 21st Century.

The dummy Leicaflex being sold at the Leitz auction in Vienna on 13 June differs from the usual store dummies which look identical to an actual camera. These cameras, intended for display and demonstration, can and do sell for over £500 (which is more than what you’d shell out for a working Leicaflex).

But this dummy is different. It looks to be an engineering model from when the Leicaflex itself was first being designed. According to Leitz Auction, the dummy comes from the Leitz Museum itself. It’s mostly made from wood, with a little aluminium and light blue leather thrown in for good measure. It even sports a fake selenium meter – the Leicaflex itself ended up with a battery-powered CDs meter above the lens. The auction listing sums it up pretty succinctly: “The camera never went into production in this form.”

The auction of Leica cameras, lenses and photographica on 13 June also includes a Leica-0 prototype – one of only two constructed – which is expected to sell for up to €1m (£886,000).

It should be pointed out that this listing – the starting price is €6,000 – is body-only. If you want a lens to put on the front of this non-operative dummy Leicaflex, that will be extra.

Stephen Dowling
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