Vienna, 28 November 2022

15,000 euros for a good cause and hotly contested military cameras

Twice a year, the auction house Leitz Photographica Auction hosts its eponymous auction of photographs, vintage cameras, and camera accessories. At Leitz Photographica Auction 41, which took place on November 26 at Hotel Bristol in Vienna, bidders from all over the world engaged in intense competition for rarities and collectibles from the world of photography. A series of edition prints of Marilyn Monroe from 1949, which was auctioned off for the Austrian charity "Licht ins Dunkel" (“Light into Darkness”), attracted particular interest. Moreover, various military cameras from Leica were met with particular interest and turned out to be bestsellers, with some of them fetching up to 21 times their estimated price.

Among experts, the biannual Leitz Photographica Auction is known as the world's most prestigious auction for vintage cameras and historic camera accessories. Six months after the 40th-anniversary auction that brought a new world record for the most expensive camera of all time, the auction series returned to Hotel Bristol in Vienna. For the first time in three years, rare photographs were auctioned off – including a series of three edition prints of young Marilyn Monroe. André de Dienes, the legendary Hollywood photographer active from the 1950s to 1970s, shot the then unknown actress in 1949 on Tobay Beach (Long Island). The three prints formed the charity lot of the auction. Originally estimated at 4,000 to 8,000 euros, they ultimately sold for 15,600 euros (including premium[1]).

"At each auction we provide an exhibit for a good cause," explains Alexander Sedlak, managing director of Leica Camera Classics and Leitz Photographica Auction. "The three edition prints of Marilyn Monroe are remarkable because they show the future Hollywood icon posing in a completely carefree manner. The sorrow of later days seems far away. The entire proceeds from charity lot go to 'Licht ins Dunkel'."

Competition for military-edition Leicas

Leitz Photographica Auction is traditionally considered a benchmark for developments in the vintage camera market. Black paint Leica cameras have proven very popular in recent years, their prices rising consistently. While this trend continued at Leitz Photographica Auction 41, the bidders were particularly taken by cameras from army stocks.

Two cameras used by the British military were the subject of outstandingly fierce bidding contests. The Leica IIIa British Marine (serial number 198047) had been estimated at only 1,600 to 2,000 euros but achieved a final price of 43,200 euros (including premium). Two bidders – one attending online, his opponent on the phone – engaged in a highly exciting duel for the camera made in 1936. A similar competition ensued for the subsequent lot (a Leica Standard British Navy 'Admiralty NP' serial number with the serial number 277758), which – at an estimate of 4,000 to 5,000 euros – was eventually auctioned for 36,000 euros (including premium). "They know each other! This isn’t about the cameras at all," joked auctioneer Wolfgang Pauritsch before striking the gavel. 

Finally, it was yet another military camera that provided the highest price of the day. The German military-spec Leica M4 Olive Bundeseigentum (“federal property”), estimated at 300,000 to 350,000 euros, brought 540,000 euros (including premium). "Never before has such a high sum been paid for a green M4," said Alexander Sedlak. "It is likely to be the most expensive military camera ever sold at auction."

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[1] A fee (20 percent of the hammer price) is charged by the auction house.

About Leica Camera Classics:
Traditional German camera manufacturer Leica Camera AG has two subsidiaries in Vienna: Leica Camera Austria GmbH and Leica Camera Classics GmbH. The latter specializes in vintage cameras and has around 500 units on display at its Leica Classic Store at Westbahnstraße 40. This location also houses the world’s largest spare parts warehouse for historic Leica cameras. Due to this unique stock, the technicians on site can examine historic Leica cameras according to the highest collector standards and restore them prior to auction if necessary.
Twice a year - in mid-June and at the end of November - Leica Camera Classics organizes the Leitz Photographica Auction, the world's most renowned auction of vintage cameras, attracting bidders from over 100 countries. In addition, around 5,000 products are permanently offered for sale in the LCC online store.

41st Leitz Photographica Auction

Where: Hotel Bristol, Vienna (Austria)
When: 26 November 2022 10h CET 

For questions regarding registration and bids, please contact:

Leitz Photographica Auction
Andreas Schweiger
T +43 1 523 56 59 – 18 


Press and media inquiries:

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Press Release: 41. Leitz Photographica Auction Report_Nov 2022.pdf
pdf (107.29 KB)

Leica Camera – A Partner for Photography

Leica Camera AG is an international, premium manufacturer of cameras and sports optics. The legendary reputation of the Leica brand is based on a long tradition of excellent quality, German craftsmanship and German industrial design, combined with innovative technologies. An integral part of the brand's culture is the diversity of activities the company undertakes for the advancement of photography. In addition to the Leica Galleries and Leica Akademies spread around the world, there are the Leica Hall of Fame Award and, in particular, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA), which is considered one of the most innovative sponsorship awards existing today. Furthermore, Leica Camera AG, with its headquarters in Wetzlar, Hesse, and a second production site in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal, has a worldwide network of its own national organisations and Leica Retail Stores.