Leica No. 105: the world’s first 35mm camera up for auction for a record sum | Regional

Wetzlar – The history of this camera from 1923 is worth millions: As Leica employee Oskar Barnack (1879-1936) suffered from asthma and was unable to carry cameras with heavy plates, he invented a small and handy camera to take with you: the camera 35 mm. The prototype, which Barnack used privately, was sold on Saturday for a record price: € 14.4 million!

It is the original mobile camera, the Leica No. 105 of the so-called 0 series. The small brass case covered in black leather with a fixed 50 mm lens was offered at the Leitz Photografica auction.

Starting price: 1 million euros. A sales figure of between 3 and 4 million euros was expected.

The precious Leica has the name of developer and owner Oskar Barnack engraved on the viewfinder

Photo: Leica Camera Classics / dpa

Camera for the “rock bag”

It is one of the first 35mm cameras in the world, prototype of the Leica I., the first 35mm serial camera. Barnack built 23 in Wetzlar. It was thanks to them that the mobile camera for the “rock bag”, as Barnack once said, became so popular.

►Small format cameras captured billions of negative photos from the 1930s to the 1990s: young Elizabeth II (96), Germany’s zero hour, building the Wall – without small format cameras there is no they would almost be photos of these. And thanks to Wetzlarer’s invention, cell phones also have built-in cameras.

Barnack 100 years ago: “A small camera must be small”.

Oskar Barnack (1879-1936) in the Leica development laboratory in Wetzlar

Oskar Barnack (1879-1936) in the Leica development laboratory in Wetzlar

Photo: picture-alliance / dpa

With n. 105 has photographed his family life for years. There is no more valuable camera in the world for photo collectors. Alexander Sedlak, managing director of Leica Camera Classics: “The intangible value – the historical significance – of Series 0 No. 105 goes well beyond the sum of 14.4 million euros”.

Barnack died of asthma in Bad Nauheim in 1936 while he was being treated. His invention still survives today.

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