Leica cameras proved one of the must-have auction prizes in recent sales with record prices at Westlicht in Vienna and Bonhams Hong Kong.
First up were
Westlicht in Vienna on November 22, whose top Leica set the
auction record for any commercially produced camera when one of
only four MP models made for the famous Life magazine
photographer David Douglas Duncan, who owned the camera until 2007,
took €1.4m (£1.18m) hammer against a starting price of
M3D-2 of a series numbered M3D-1 to 4 was
from 1955 and in good condition. A black patent Leicavit with
Summilux 1,4 /50mm lens, no: 2028874, the camera came with a
special rewind and Duncan's original belt.
As well as being a celebrated war
photographer, Duncan was also famous for his friendship with Pablo
Picasso, which led to seven books of photos of the artist, all
taken with the Leica M3-D.
Demand in Hong
Bonhams also had something to smile about after their launch
sale dedicated to Leicas in Hong Kong on November 23.
Head of collectables John Baddeley said that
what had been a "bit of a gamble" in launching the sale in Hong
Kong had "paid off handsomely".
"Already we can see that this market is
outstripping New York and London," he said.
The 85% sold offering was topped by a c.1930
Leica Luxus I, no 40848, with a 50mm f3.5 Elmar lens and faux
lizard body. Estimated at HK$1.2m-1.8m, the camera had come from
the collection of the late E.J. (Jack) Newton, a founder member and
first president of the Leica Historical Society. Prior to purchase
by the consignor, it had been on display at the Royal Photographic
Society of Great Britain in Bath.
One of only 95 Luxus cameras, all made to
order in 1929-30, it took HK$6.2m (£531,730), a record price for a
The sale included over 250 lots of Leica
cameras and accessories from two major private collections,
including items from the estate of the watchmaking legend Dr George
Daniels, whose unique classic car collection contributed heavily to
Bonhams' £22m Goodwood Festival of Speed auction in June and whose
watch collection has just sold at Sotheby's to total £8.28m.
The world auction record for any camera remains the €2.16m
(£1.81m) paid on May 12, also at Westlicht, for one of around 25
prototype Leica 0-Series models from 1923.
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