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Leica 1 (Model A) Elmax Camera Sells for 2.2m Euros

Posted by on November 26, 2012

Simply amazing! A new world record in camera sales.

1923 Leica 1 Model A camera

One of 12 prototype 1923 Leica 1 Model A cameras similar to this sold for 2.2 million euros at auction in 2012

A rare, highly significant 1923 prototype Leica camera has been sold in an auction for 2.16m euros. The Leica A with the Elmax lens, is one of only 12 cameras of this type known to have survived.

Elmax is the name of the distinctive, powerful and technologically groundbreaking lens design, has the acronym ELMAX, for Ernst Leitz and MAX Berek. The later, improved version of this lens is the Elmar.

Leica used to modify existing cameras when updating models, meaning many were cannibalised to accept upgrades. Environmentally sound, leaving very few cameras with all their original components.

Henri Cartier-Bresson first 35mm Leica camera

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first 35mm Leica camera
descendent of the Leica 1 Model A Elmax

This camera was the basis for the later model used by the legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson who used Leica throughout his professional career.

A smaller modern variant with the same basic lens design philosophy is found in the Lumix cameras made by Panasonic today.

The estimate was that the Model A Elmax camera would be sold for around 0.6m euros, but clearly someone really wanted to get this! The actual final sale price was 1.8m with quite some extra costs for tax and fees.

I wonder who now owns this camera and what they are going to do with it. If it still works, are they going to make photos with it? This of course depends if there are still films left for it as those are getting pretty hard to get hold of and develop.

I am not expecting this under the Christmas tree this year, but someone will be very lucky!


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