Monday, October 12, 2020


By Heinz Richter

Last Saturday, October 10, once again was a day for the Wetzlar Camera auctions.  Lars Netopil and co-owner Joe Geier once again had an exciting range of items to offer.

The item receiving the highest bid interestingly enough was not a Leica item.  Instead that honor went to a prototype Nikon camera.  It is a relatively unknowm fact that at one time Nikon experimented with a Leica screw mount on their early rangefinder cameras.  The camera for auction was a Nikon L11004 prototype.  The camera’s number of L11004 suggests it is number four of the L1100 series, which dates back to the very early prototyping for a Nikon 35mm camera when the company was yet to decide to go with a Leica screw mount or the Contax bayonet mount.  It was made in 1947.

One of the most interesting Leica items was a Leitz Telyt 180 mm f/3.4 prototype from 1966,  an extremely rare Leitz Canada experimental unit of a 180 mm lens for the Leica M, based on computation C47 by Dr. Walter Mandler, with rangefinder coupling and "goggles" for viewfinder and rangefinder.  Only a very few prototypes were made of this version, and there was no later market launch.  The lens sold for an astonishing €39,700 (~$46,884).

An even higher price was paid for a Leitz Summarit 50mm f/1.4, a prototype of the later Summilux, from 1958.  It sold at €49,700 (~$58,694)

Another interesting item was a Leica III with a prototype of a mechanical rapid winder from 1939.  It sold for €32,300 (~$38,145)

A rather high price of €49,700 (~$58,694) was achieved by the first ever made Leica IIId (a Leica IIIc with self timer) with serial number  360001. 

A rather unusual item was an olive green Leica M3, double stroke which was made for the German Bundeswehr (Federal armed forces) in 1958.  Is sold for €93,200 (~$110,067), complete with several accessories.


Of course these are only the most outstanding examples of all the items offered.  Once again, the Wetzlar Camera auctions were  a great success.

For other articles on this blog please click on Blog Archive in the column to the right

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