A $3,000,000 Leica camera? Why is this old camera so valuable?


posted Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 6:00 AM EDT


Leica's 20th annual Leitz Photographica Auction is just around the corner. Starting on June 11, collectors worldwide will be able to bid on many different cameras and lenses, including a Leica 0-Series No. 105 "Oscar Barnack" camera. This camera is estimated to sell for between 2 and 3 million euros, about $3.2M USD. That's a lot of money. Why is this camera so valuable?

Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography recently made a video about this Leica camera, offering context and history for the extremely rare, valuable Leica camera. It's a great video for any fan of history, even if most of us don't have $3M burning a hole in our pocket.

The camera is extraordinary. It's a prototype camera that was produced in 1923. There were only around 23 of them ever made, with only a dozen or so surviving to the present day. The 0-Series camera was built to test the market two years before the Leica A came out. The 0-Series camera up for auction is exceptional because it's No. 105, the personal camera of Leica's creator, Oskar Barnack. It is engraved with Barnack's name, and the lot includes the original leather lens cap emblazoned with his initials. The lot also includes documents and letters concerning the camera. It's a major piece of photographic history and one of the most special items ever put up for sale at the Leitz auction.

While Barnack's prototype camera may be the star of the show, there are many more amazing pieces of photographic history up for auction. You can browse the full catalog here

Leica 0-Series NO.105 'Oscar Barnack'
Leica 0-Series NO.105 'Oscar Barnack'
Leica 0-Series NO.105 'Oscar Barnack'

To see more from Ted Forbes, subscribe to The Art of Photography on YouTube. In addition to covering interesting industry news, he also makes many excellent videos about photographic technique, history and hands-on reviews of the latest gear.

All images courtesy of Leica / Leitz Photographica Auction

(Via The Art of Photography