A Leica once used by its inventor Oskar Barnack has broken the world record for a camera at the Leitz Photographica Auction in Germany on Saturday (11 June).
The Leica 0-Series No. 105 sold for a hammer price of €14.4m (£12.3m/$15.1m) including premium, more than four times the expected sale price of €3m (£2.56m/$3.15m)
The camera dates from 1923, one of possibly 23 made to test the market for what would become the production Leica, released in 1925. This example was the personal camera of Oskar Barnack, who invented the first 35mm Leica camera in 1913 in the German town of Wetzlar.
The price dwarfed that of the previous record-breaking camera, another Leica 0-series – No. 122 – which sold for €2.4m at the WestLicht Photographica auction in Vienna, Austria, in March 2018.
Barnack used the camera until 1930, when we gave it to his son Conrad.
Leitz Photographica said of the camera: “The Leica 0-Series no.105 we have a pleasure to offer for sale is not only the most distinguished Leica existing but also one of the major historical milestones from the history of photography.
The camera was one of more than 400 lots sold at the auction, which sells rare cameras of all types.
A Kiev-11 prototype SLR from the 1960s – never put into production – sold for €18,000 (£15,300/$19,000), nearly twice the expected price.
A prototype GOI Leningrad from the 1940s, complete with a full set of lenses, sold for €192,000 (£164,000/$202,000).
Other noteworthy lots in the sale included a rare Zunow SLR set from the 1950s with three lenses which fetched €120,000 (£102,500/$126,000) and a first-batch Leica M3 which sold for €384,000 (£328,000/$404,000).