Producing a lens is no easy task. While many lenses do end up making it to market, there are plenty that never leave the prototype stage.
One such example is the Leica APO-Telyt 600mm f/5, a mirror lens developed by Leica in 1987. Ultimately, the lens never made it to market, but a single version of the unseen glass was produced in 1987 and even given a serial number: 172-0001.
Now, this one-of-a-kind lens is up for sale on eBay for approximately $157,000 — a heavy price, even for Leica glass.
According to the seller, the lens is “like new, without signs of wear.” Looking at the history of the lens, it was the only APO-Telyts lens that featured a catadioptric design, which means both refraction and reflection are used to bounce the image back in forth using a series of mirrors.
Despite the space-savings of the mirrored construction, the R-system lens is far from small. According to ApoTelyt, the lens weighs no less than 11 pounds, much of which is due to the considerably fast f/5 aperture.
This isn’t the first time this lens has exchanged hands. Last year, the lens was posted on eBay for $230,000, more than double the current asking price. It never sold though and, until now, was yet to be seen again.
No one has bit the bullet yet, so if you have a cool $157,000 sitting in a bank account, this incredibly rare lens can be the newest piece of your photo collection.