1923 Leica camera fetches world record at Vienna auction

Only about 25 of the historic Leica 0-series cameras (above) were produced in 1923.
Only about 25 of the historic Leica 0-series cameras (above) were produced in 1923.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

VIENNA (AFP) - A 1923 Leica camera fetched a world record €2.4 million (S$3.9 million) at an auction on Saturday (March 10) in Vienna, the city's Westlicht museum said.

The minimum price had been set at €400,000 but the Leica 0-series no. 122, one of a 25-strong series of prototypes made two years before the reputed German marque began retailing, was the subject of ferocious bidding given its pristine condition.

It finally finally went to an Asian bidder, the museum said, adding there only three of the series remained in their original condition.

The previous record for a 1923 Leica saw a buyer spend €2.16 million in 2012, Westlicht said.

Andreas Kaufmann, an Austrian, bought the iconic high-end marque favoured by pioneering photojournalists such as Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson in 2005 to relaunch a company, one of the world's oldest photography brands which was struggling at the time.