A bit of patience was required from potential buyers and sellers attending the 34th Leitz Photographica Auction, until the highlight, a Leica MP2 Black Paint with electric motor drive (lot number 82), came onto the block. When it did, it surpassed all expectations. The MP2, a modified version of the Leica M2 with a detachable motor drive, was used primarily by professional photographers. As part of a test series, only 27 cameras were actually built – only 15 are currently known to still exist, and only about half of those with the original motor. Furthermore, only six cameras, with serial numbers 935507 to 935512, were painted black. This means that the black MP2 is one of Leica’s rarest cameras. It is hardly surprising then that this lot hit the highest price achieved at the auction, which was also well over the estimate: the 850,000 euros plus buyer's premium surpassed the million barrier, at 1,020,000 euros.
Shortly before that, a Leica 250 “Reporter” GG with Leica motor (MOOEV) delivered to Berlin in 1942, sold for close to half a million euros. The starting price had been 150,000. The camera, that had been introduced in 1936, took ten metres of 35mm film in its film chamber and, with its extremely short shutter speed of up to one 1/1000 of a second, was able to take 250 pictures without changing the film. Only 92 Leica 250GG came equipped with an electric motor. Most of the cameras were lost during the Second World War, and only 15 or so are known to still exist around the world today.
The fifth ever M-Leica found a buyer for over 400,000 euros (including buyer’s premium). The Leica M3 with serial number 700005 had never been restored, and was presented in its completely original condition. The camera was sold as a set with a very early collapsible Summicron 2/5cm with serial number 1041619 in virtually mint condition. After being in private ownership for over 40 years, the camera was appearing at an auction for the first time.
Among the auction's other highlights were a rare M3 prototype from the pre-production series (360,000 euros including buyer’s premium), a Leica KE-7A with a number of lenses, among them the extremely rare Elcan 2/66mm outfit, (sold for 102,000 euros including buyer’s premium), and an early Russian Fed I Fedka from 1934 with serial number 674, which had a starting price of 1,000 euros and sold for over 30,000.
Further information about and results from the auction can be found at: Leitz Photographica Auction