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Record sale for a Leica : I'm hanging on to my E-p1

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by mauve, May 12, 2012.

  1. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    According to this article (sorry, french version, couldn't find the news reported in english yet), a rare Leica 0-serie has just been sold in Vienna for €2,160,000.

    In case :43: finally wins the digital market like Leica ultimately managed to set the film market to the 24x36 norm, I'm not letting go my E-p1 !


    ps. This price is insane, however rare the machine. It's absolute madness.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    Hard to say whether it's insane. The owner isn't likely to shoot with it, it's just an investment, and if he or she will ever need the money it'll be sold again, possibly even for more. Sounds crazy for ordinary people like us, but a couple of million is not much to pay for an antique piece if you're a billionaire.
    And leicas are usually built to last a lifetime unlike cheap modern cameras, I don't think E-P1 is ever gonna cost much no matter how successful m43 might become.
  3. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    These old leicas are entirely mechanical in operation, and built to a very high standard. If they're carefully looked after and maintained, they'll always be a good photographic tool. The same cannot be said of our m43 cameras; the mechanisms are too complex to be cheaply repaired (and certainly not self-repaired), and the circuitry will fail eventually. Not to mention that they will be incredibly outmoded by that point.

    Yeah the buyer presumably bought it mainly as an investment, but I don't see why they wouldn't use it occasionally also. It's what it was made for. You don't see Stradivari just sitting in their cases, do you?
  4. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    Well, cameras and optics improved so much since 1920s in each and every aspect that most newer Leica cameras, either film or digital, would likely give both better shooting experience and final results. Probably not so much progress with violins. But yeah, if money is not an issue the owner might use the camera occasionally. :smile:
  5. Rover

    Rover Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 5, 2012
    Leica 0 vs E-P1 with regards to photographic history.

  6. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Just to clarify my thoughts, I think this is madness because :

    - in the 1920s, photography wasn't exactly news. It was already 80 years old. And neither was small format photography (so-called "spy" cameras were all the rage in the 2nd half of the XIXth century).

    - the leica 0 was a prototype. An interesting one no doubt, but far from the smooth operation we're accustomed to. As the curtains were not capping, you couldn't wind the film without blinding the lens first, for instance.

    - this camera didn't belonged to a famed photographer, nor did it captured anything historical, as far as I know. It's just a (beautifully crafted) lump of metal.

    So the only claim to fame of that camera is to be leica branded and a testimony of how the brand bootstarted. Quite meager. It's well in line with some other oddities, for instance the option Leica offered (offers ?) with the M6 to sell it un-lubed in a vacuum sealed bag, solely for investment purpose.

    I may be old fashioned, but I'm firmly entrenched in "the photographer's first and foremost, camera's just a tool" camp. Engineering in itself is fine, but nothing in the Leica was really new, unheard of, or brilliant. The genius was to combine a lot of cutting edge technologies around the widely available 35mm cinema film.

  7. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA

    Here's the description for the one sold last year from

    New record: the most expensive Leica camera sold for 1.9 million USD | Leica News & Rumors

    A prototype from 1923 built before the cameras were ever sold commercially is a very big deal to a collector. I'm surprised it didn't sell for more.
  8. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    I think economics doesn't work like that, it's about how rare thing is, and not necessarily how important it was (cause that's very subjective) or who owned it. Supply and demand. Apparently there's some demand for these cameras, but supply level is very low since only 25 or something were ever built, hence the price. If there was a thousand of them on the market then it wouldn't sell for anywhere close to 2 million.
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Troll is right; it's about the rarity of the object, along with any psychological caché it has to collectors. In a detail or two, these Leica 0 cameras are often unique.

    To those of us buying cameras to use, such prices are insane. But there are lots of people for whom a couple of million dollars is pocket change, and prices for collectors of anything is a thing unto itself. One billionaire who really wants this one unique part of photographic history is all it takes.
  10. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    While crazy, I can certainly see worse uses of the money for the stupidly rich who drop dough like that.

    Uhhh I was planning on giving away my beloved E-P1 to my Dad this summer..hopefully I'm not giving away a future treasure..
  11. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Just to put things in perspective : with that kind of money, you can buy a whole 100 of vintage, signed Henri Cartier-Bresson prints. One - Hun - Dred. And he's one of the most expensive photographer to buy at auctions. That same amount would get you 50 vintage, signed Irving Penn at Christie's.

    ps. @Lawrence A. : while it must have been difficult to type "é" on a non-french keyboard, the correct french word would have been "cachet" (stamp, seal) instead of "caché" (hidden). "Avoir du cachet" actually means "to bear a seal" (a warranty of value).

    • Like Like x 1
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I seriously doubt anybody uses these cameras. They're collectibles. Their value plummets as soon as they see any serious use. Heck, I'd bet that maintaining them would actually damage their value as not all the bits would be 'original' any more.

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