On May 23, the Austrian auction house Westlicht will organize the sale of around 100 items from Leica’s history, including a telescope built by Karl Kellner in 1852, a Leica I Mod, a 250, a Luxus, a prototype of the M3 and several iconic photographic prints. The auction will take place at the brand new Leitz Park complex in Wetzlar, Germany, on the site of the optical plant where Leica’s story began.
Some of the items going up on the auction block are expected to bring in €300,000 or more. Among the highest-valued cameras are a 1933 Leica II Mod. D Luxus, a 1942 250 GG and a 1957 Black Paint MP-99. Several of the cameras are certified to have been used by renowned photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, René Burri and Elliott Erwitt.
In November 2013, two Leica cameras — a 1930 Luxus I and a 1932 Luxus II — fetched a record $620,000 at auction.
Among the photography prints to be sold in this one-off auction is an image of Mohammed Ali taken by Thomas Hoepker in 1966. The print has been appraised at between €15,000 and €18,000 (around $20,800 – $25,000).
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Leitz, the very first camera produced by Leica.