Culture / Auctions

A 1923 Leica Camera Broke World’s Sales Record

The 1923 Leica camera, made by one of the world’s oldest photography brands, managed to pass the $2 million mark at auction.

Mar 15, 2018 | By Andrea Sim

A 1923 Leica Camera Broke World’s Sales Record

Photographers who have at least owned an analogue camera from Leica will appreciate the camera for its sleek appeal, optic lenses and ergonomics. The cameras are crafted to fit perfectly in the hands for users to spontaneously capture every beautiful moment (that will soon belong to yesterday), offering visual enjoyment of lasting value.

But this camera (pictured above) survived the pre-war period and managed to make it to the 21st century to be auctioned off. After a fairly intensive auction (Saturday in Vienna), the 1923 Leica camera was finally sold to an Asian bidder for a world record price of 2.4 million euros.

The city’s Westlicht museum said the 1923 Leica was the “only three of the series that remained in their original condition.”


1923 Leica 0-Series Camera/PINTEREST

Though a minimum price had been set at $400,000, the Leica 0-series no. 122 belonging to the 25 series of prototypes made two years ago went through a ferocious bid due to its pristine condition.

Pioneering photojournalists such as Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson were users of Leica, one of the world’s oldest photography brands. For example, the Hungarian photojournalist, Robert Capa achieved fame as a war photojournalist when he covered much of the heaviest fighting during world war II.

Capa’s famous saying, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, then you aren’t close enough.” Some of his works covered images of the Normandy Invasion,  which later became some of the most memorable of the war.

Olivia Coeln, daughter of the owner of the Westlicht Gallery Peter Coeln  posed with a Leica O series, on May 10, 2012 in Vienna/AFP

Back to the 1923 Leica camera, “the previous record for a 1923 Leica saw a buyer spend 2.16 million euros in 2012,” said Westlicht.

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