Friday, July 30, 2021


Photo: Milan Swolfs, Wetzlar Network

By Heinz Richter 

For over 24 years Lars Netopil (www.lars-netopil.comhas been operating "Lars Netopil Classic Cameras" in Wetzlar's old town. Besides selling new Leica eqipment and becoming a Leica Store in 2012, his core business is historical Leica products, with a focus on rare collector's items. 

In 2018 he founded "Wetzlar Camera Auctions GmbH" together with Jo Geier from Vienna (www.jogeier.comand David Pitzer from Wetzlar. They had their first auction in 2019, the second in 2020 and auction number three will take place next October. With around 200 of 250 exhibits, the focus is on Leica. In the auction there are mostly rare or special pieces. However, that does not mean that they always have to be very rare, seldom seen Leica products. A regular chrome-plated M3, absolutely mint and as good as new is also something special.


For more than 30 years, Lars Netopil has been one of the few experts in the world to be considered as absolutely competent in questions regarding the history of the Leica camera. 

Jo Geier has more than 10 years of experience in the field of Photographic Auctions and also has a broad and in-depth knowledge of equipment from all manufacturers.


Proven competence and accurate market knowledge are the expertise of Wetzlar Camera Auctions. It provides the prerequisites for valuing and describing high quality collector’s items from the field of classic photography equipment and marketing it by means of special auctions. 

The first auction in 2019 proved to be very successful with some items selling way beyond expectations. For instance, a gold-plated Leica IA from 1929 sold for 275,000 euros and the prototype of a Leitz Summicron 50 mm lens from the 1950s climbed from 6,000 to the record price of 100,000 euros. 

2020 was no less successful. More than 250 lots were auctioned, including a Leica M3 of the German Bundeswehr in NATO olive green paint from 1958, brought in an unusually high price of 93,200 euros. Leica copies from a prominent collection achieved high five-digit results. Particularly spectacular: The early prototype of a NIKON L rangefinder camera with Leica screw thread achieved an amazing 397,900 euros. It is the highest price ever achieved at auction for a Nikon camera. 

Wetzlar Camera Auctions is already recording significant consignments for the next auction on October 9, 2021. 

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