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Leica MDa Nasa (Pic: Wetzlar Auctions)
The camera is a replica on that used on the Skylab mission (Pic: Wetzlar Auctions)

A working replica of the Leica camera used on Nasa’s Skylab mission in the early 1970s is going to sale at auction this October.

The Leica MDa Nasa is a faithful replica of the Leica used in Skylab Experiment S063, which photographed the airglow in the Earth’s atmosphere, within the middle and visible ultraviolet spectral range.

The camera is one of the leading lots in the latest Wetzlar Camera Auction in Wetzlar Germany – the home of Leica – on 8 October.

The camera is expected to sell for between €60,000 and €80,000 and bidding starts at €30,000. The camera includes a matching Noctilux 50/1.2 lens.

The MDa’s modifications included a larger shutter speed dial, a soft shutter release, and enlarged wind lever, rewind knob and opening lever, all to aid operation when the user was waring spacesuit gloves.

The replica is one of a number of prized Leica items included in the auction.

Leica MP (Pic: Wetzlar Auctions)
The MP is a modified version that had been sent to Leitz’s Norwegian agency (Pic: Wetzlar Auctions)

Others include a black-painted Leica IIIF produced for the Swedish military, which is expected to fetch more than €50,000.

Meanwhile, a black Leica MP produced for the Leitz Agency in Norway in 1960 is expected to sell for as much as €300,000. The MP includes some novel touches, includes three notches on the side of the film gate, perhaps for identifying the negatives on a contact sheet.

The MP had originally been a chrome model but had been painted black on the request of a customer, and had also been converted to single stroke, using a long winding lever.

Swedish military Leica IIIf (Pic: Wetzlar Auctions)
This black Leica IIIf is a rare model made for the Swedish military (Pic: Wetzlar Auctions)

Another notable model is a 1924 Leica Model A with an Anastigmat lens, expected to sell for as much as 50,000.

The auction features several other rare European cameras, including an Italian Chinaglia Domenico Kristall R rangefinder camera, made from 1954 and based on the Leica II.

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Stephen Dowling
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