Published: March 12, 2018
VIENNA, AUSTRIA — The 32nd WestLicht Camera Auction brought not one but two record winning results. With the new world record price of $2,976,000, the Leica 0-series no. 122 is the world’s most expensive camera to date. Furthermore, the auction on March 10 turned out to be the most successful one in the rich history of the Vienna auction house.
The Leica 0-series had started at a price of $490,000 and rose to a result six times higher. A private collector from Asia emerged as the winner from the exciting bidding war. The remarkable price certainly also reflects the camera’s fantastic original condition. In 1923, two years before the first Leica was introduced to the market, Ernst Leitz produced 25 of this test camera, only three of which are known to still be in the original condition.
The previous record holder, a Leica 0-series with no. 116, was also auctioned at WestLicht in 2012 for $2.6 million. Peter Coeln, WestLicht founder, said, “The outstanding result once again emphasizes the international leading position of our auction house.” Leica majority owner and chairman of the board Andreas Kaufmann added, “This world record price demonstrates the ongoing and ever-growing myth of the Leica brand.”
A further excellent result was achieved by another Leica camera from the collection of Jim Jannard (founder of Oakley). A Leica MP-89 black paint climbed from a starting price of $150,000 to $560,000. A Leica MP-2, the first camera with electric motor drive, changed ownership for $530,00. For the comparatively moderate sum of $59,000, a collector purchased the Hasselblad Lunar Surface SWC, which was manufactured for the Apollo missions.
The overall sales rate of the 32nd WestLicht camera auction was 91 percent for 530 lots, with close to 100 percent among the Leica items.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium and were converted from euros to US dollars at press time.
The next WestLicht Auction is scheduled for this November.
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