HONG KONG – L&H Auction Co.’s Autumn Antique Auction on Nov. 26 features more than 80 lots of highly collectible Leica cameras, lenses and equipment, including many rare items. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Many variations of the venerable Leica M3, one of the leading cameras of the 1950s-60s, are available.
There are several olive M3 cameras marked “Bundeseigentum” (federal property), which were made in that shade of green for the German army in 1959. Total production of olive M3 cameras was less than 300 units. The finest example of the olive M3 cameras in the L&H Auction sale has “Bundeseigentum 12-121-5418” engraved on the back of top plate and carries an eagle sticker of German Army. This particular camera (below) has been published in the Paul-Henry Van Hasbroeck book, Leica In Colour, p.85. This camera body has an estimate of 120,000-150,000 Hong Kong dollars (approximately $15,360-$19,200 in U.S. currency).
Leica M3 cameras finished in black paint are scarce and coveted by collectors. A black M3 in the auction was produced in 1960 and comes with a black-paint Summicron-M 50mm f2 lens having a raw brass mount. Estimate: $220,000-$380,000/US $28,170-$48,660.
The classic chrome M3 with a Summicron-M 50mm f2 lens is offered with its instruction manual, light meter and original box. Estimate: HK $120,000-$180,000/US $15,370-$23,050.
A later Leica M-system film camera is the M6, produced from 1984 to 1998. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of accession to the throne of Sultan of Brunei in 1992, the royal family ordered 350 sets of gold-plated Leica M6 Sambutan Jubli Perak (top). The national totem of Sultan is engraved on the top plate and “Sambutan Jubli Perak” engraved at the back. The camera is decorated with black leather embossed ornamentation and comes with a Summilux-M 50mm f1.4 lens in gold plate and engraved “Sambutan Jubli Perak 5 Oct 92.” This set comes with the box and papers, a wooden box, strap, body cap, rear lens cap and hood with cap. Estimate: HK $120,000-$180,000/US $15,370-$23,050.
A long-standing Leica treasure is the IIIf, a black-body rangefinder camera made for the Swedish army in 1956. Only 100 were produced. The camera in the auction is complete with matching black-paint Elmar 50mm f3.5 lens and a leather case, which is stamped with three crowns. Estimate: HK $250,000-$380,000/US $32,010-$48,660.