At auction for € 14.4 million – Leica becomes the most expensive camera of all time

As part of the 40th Leitz photo auction this Saturday in Wetzlar, a Leica of the 0 series no. 105 was put to the test. The small camera of its inventor Oskar Barnack reached a record price of € 14.4 million. An unprecedented figure, which far exceeded the auction house’s expectations of around 3 million euros. Another model from the Leica 0 series (# 122) sold for 2.4 million in 2018 and was the previous record holder.

Camera # 105 is one of the first 35mm cameras ever made in the world and has an outstanding previous owner. It belonged to Oskar Barnack, who is credited with inventing the 35mm camera. From 1913/14 he built the original Leica and developed it further with the 0 series. Ernst Leitz produced the 0 series, a batch of around 23 prototypes, from 1923 to 1924.

With his personal prototype, no. 105, Barnack has captured numerous subjects related to the surrounding environment, family life and nature. He incorporated his experience with the camera into the further development of the camera and subsequent models. In the mid-1920s, mass 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.

At the Leitz Photografica 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 of 1923.

The historical significance and intangible value of the camera far exceeded the sum of € 14.4 million. However, the record amount is evidence of a development in recent years: “Prices are rising – interest in vintage cameras is greater than ever,” explained Alexander Sedlak, managing director of Leica Camera Classics, a subsidiary. Austria of Leica Camera AG, under which the auction house operates.

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