Leica, the venerable camera and optics manufacturer, marks 100 years in the business of making photographic equipment, with the Lilliput, or Ur-Leica, the company’s first camera created in 2014. Leica will be celebrating this milestone in a number of ways, including special edition of its products. The company, along with auction house WestLicht, recently sold off 100 rare Leica items to commemorate the “100 Years of Leica” (the auction also included 100 photographs), but it was also an opportunity to see the various equipment that Leica has made in its history, beginning with a telescope created by Carl Kellner, founder of the company that would later be named Leica.
In addition to equipment like the Leica 250 from 1941 (which could take 250 exposures without reloading, nicknamed the “Reporter”; this rare unit contains an electric motor, and was used by German warplanes for aerial reconnaissance) and the Leica MP Black Paint from 1957, the auction also included new items as well. One is the first of the Leica M Edition 100, a special set (limited to 101) that contains a new Leica M-A film camera – the first from Leica in more than a decade – three Summilux-M prime lenses (28mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and 50mm f/1.4), and a silver version of the Leica M Monochrom digital black-and-white camera. The 28mm f/1.4 lens is also new, but it isn’t known yet if it’d be available for purchase, because Leica said no items from the set would be sold separately; it’s possible that Leica could offer it in a non-special-edition variant. Lot 100 fetched 144,000 euros.
Overall, the auction pulled in millions in euros, but it’s likely this won’t be the last of its special-edition events. The company recently announced the Leica M Monochrom Silver Anniversary Edition sold only in Sweden and Denmark, which lists $21,000. In other milestones, Leica is moving into new headquarters in Germany – back to where it was founded – and recently announced its first mirrorless system.
Check out images of the many interesting products auctioned at WestLicht’s website.