As part of the 40th Leitz Photographica Auction this Saturday in Wetzlar, a Leica of the 0 series No. 105 went under the hammer. The small camera by its inventor, Oskar Barnack, achieved a record price of 14.4 million euros. An unprecedented sum, which far exceeded the auction house’s expectations of around 3 million euros. Another Leica 0 series model (#122) sold for 2.4 million in 2018 and was the previous record holder.
Camera with history
The #105 camera is one of the first 35mm cameras ever made in the world and has an exceptional previous owner. It belonged to Oskar Barnack, who is credited with inventing the 35mm camera. Since 1913/14 he has been building the original Leica and developing it further with the 0 series. Ernst Leitz produced the 0 series, a batch of about 23 prototypes, from 1923 to 1924.
With his personal prototype, the No. 105, Barnack captured numerous subjects related to his surroundings, family life and nature. He incorporated his experiences with the camera into the further development of the camera and subsequent models. In the mid-1920s, serial production of the Leitz Camera, Leica for short, began and the cameras were available in 1925. The 35mm camera is a milestone in modern photography.
Auction celebrates 20th anniversary with world record
At the Leitz Photographica Auction, collectors can bid on rare and special cameras, lenses and accessories. It takes place twice a year. For this 40th edition, the traditional German company was able to offer a very special camera with the Leica 0-Series No. 105 from 1923.
The historical significance and intangible value of the camera far exceeded the sum of 14.4 million euros. Nevertheless, the record amount is evidence of a development in recent years: “Prices are rising – interest in vintage cameras is greater than ever before,” explained Alexander Sedlak, Managing Director of Leica Camera Classics, an Austrian subsidiary of Leica Camera AG, under whose umbrella the auction house operates.
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