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Bundeswehr Leica M4 (Pic: Leitz Photographica)
only 31 examples of the camera were made (Pic: Leitz Photographica)

An example of one of the rarest examples of the Leica M range is up for sale this weekend at the Leitz Photographica Auction in Austria.

The olive-painted Bundeseigentum Leica M4 is one of only 31 made for the West German Bundeswehr in 1970.

The camera is going under the hammer at the sale in Vienna on Saturday (26 November) and is expected to sell for between €300.000 – 350.000. It has a starting price of €150,000.

“One of the rarest M cameras in absolutely original and near-mint condition,” Leitz Photographica said in its listing. “Engraved on the back of the top plate with ‘Bundeswehr’, with matching Elmar 2.8/50mm no.2327731 correctly engraved with the letter ‘Y’.

“Delivered on the 28th of December 1970, the camera is also in perfect technical order with a clean finder and working shutter. Only 31 M4 cameras were finished in olive green, some are without Bundeswehr engraving, and only very, very few of these still exist in this perfect original condition! The offered example is the second camera from this very small batch (1266101-1266131) – included with it is written expertise by Ottmar Michaely.”

The camera is being sold with a collapsible Elmar 50/2.8 lens.

Another example of the camera was sold last year at the Wetzlar Auction for €450,000.

The M4 is one of several rare Leica cameras up for sale, including a black-painted Swedish Army Leica IIIf and a Leica M3 prototype which was produced a test camera in 1952/53.

The auction also includes a number of rare Soviet cameras, which include a rare GOI VOOMP Leica-copy rangefinder and a Horizon 205 medium format panoramic camera.

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Stephen Dowling
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