Monday, November 26, 2012



The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, but does that make a camera worth over 2 million bucks? It does for this one, the favorite camera of LIFE magazine photographer David Douglas Duncan, known for his war photographs and intimate images of his friend Pablo Picasso. The Associated Press reports today that Austria's WestLicht gallery announced that a Leica M3D, which the gallery says belonged to Duncan, sold for $2.19 million over the weekend, setting the record price for a "commercially produced camera." 
Suzy Banks, writing at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which has Duncan's archive, explained: 
By the time Duncan began photographing the war in Vietnam, he was shooting with Leica M3Ds (D for Duncan), which the company manufactured and designed especially for him, limiting production to four. The battle-hardened camera, curiously enough, also proved ideally suited for one of Duncan's subsequent and more intimate topics: Pablo Picasso and his family. With its soft-click shutter, this camera helped the photographer document the artist's private moments as unobtrusively as possible.
Here are some of Duncan's more iconic images from Vietnam...

...and of Picasso

The Above article was written by Esther Zuckerman and published in the Atlantic Wire

While it's claim of this being the most valuable commercially produced camera in history is correct, the most valuable camera in history is also a Leica.  That title goes to one of the original pre-production Leicas, the so-called 0-Serie, which was sold for $2.79 million, also by WestLicht.



  1. Welcome back, Heinz. I hope the knee is coming along well.

  2. Thank you very much. Yes, the knee is coming along quite well. I am able to put considerable weight on it already and I suspect that within a week I will be able to walk without crutches. My main computer and office are in the lower part of my house. That prevented me from doing any nominal work on the blog because I simply was unable to navigate the stairs. But things are looking up. As I mentioned before, I have begun working on an article about an extremely rare 250 exposure M Leica. Only one was ever made. Hopefully I will be able to post it here soon.