Wetzlar, 31st October 2023

Black-paint rarities from the man in black and Steinert masterpieces in black and white.

Black is the defining motto of the upcoming Leitz Photographica Auction, which will take place on November 24 and 25 at the Hotel Bristol in Vienna. Leading the list of auction highlights are two black paint Leica MP cameras that actor Yul Brynner (1920-1985) used to document Hollywood's Golden Era. During the heyday of the Western genre, the film icon ("The Magnificent Seven") was considered the epitome of the black-clad gunslinger. The legacy of Otto Steinert (1915-1978), on the other hand, is black and white. The late German photographer remains one of the legends in his field, having shaped postwar photography like no other with his expressive and experimental photographs. The photography auction "Shaping Visions," which will kick off the Leitz Photographica weekend on November 24, will offer a bundle of 22 Steinert masterpieces.

Collector's passion in black (paint) 

Among enthusiasts and collectors of historic Leica cameras, ‘black paint’ continues to be very popular. Applied to the metal parts of the cameras, the paint develops a characteristic patina with continued use, making each of these cameras an expressive, unique piece with a history. As chrome became fashionable in the 1950s and '60s, comparatively few black-paint cameras were made. "In the past decade, the demand for black paint Leica cameras has soared. At the same time, prices rose rapidly, even reaching the seven-digit euro range," explains Alexander Sedlak, managing director of auction house Leitz Photographica Auction. Twice a year it holds its eponymous auction of vintage cameras, accessories, and photographs. Black paint model series that were only produced in small batches are particularly coveted, according to Sedlak. He cites the Leica MP as a prime example. Specially developed for reportage photography, the ‘M Professional’ was mainly used by press photographers. Leitz produced a total of 412 MP’s, only 141 of them in black paint. "Each of these MP's is worth several hundred thousand euros today. If, in addition, the camera has a famous previous owner, the interest of collectors increases. And so does the price," says Sedlak.

Highlights: Yul Brynner’s MP’s und an early M3 

The 43rd Leitz Photographica Auction offers two such cameras for sale. The MP-59 and MP-60 come from the estate of Yul Brynner. The Hollywood star – who won an Academy for "The King and I" (1956) and starred in legendary westerns such as "The Magnificent Seven" (1960), playing the ever mysterious ‘man in black’ – also excelled as a photographer. His Leica cameras accompanied him to film sets and on trips through Europe. His two MP's have an estimated value of 600,000 to 700,000 euros each. Other highlights of the upcoming auction include a Leica M3 Chrome with the early serial number 700027 (estimate: 200,000 to 240,000 euros). The M3 is considered a milestone in Leica's history, as it was the brand’s first serially produced M camera model. Up for sale is the 27th M3 to ever leave the Leitz factories in 1954. This exhibit has a famous previous owner as well – Günther Leitz, former managing director of Ernst Leitz GmbH.

Vintage photographs from Otto Steinert to Yul Brynner 

Like the two MP's by Yul Brynner, the M3 will be auctioned on November 25. The day before, the 43rd Leitz Photographica Auction begins with the photography auction "Shaping Visions". Brynner’s legacy will also be present here, with four photographs including a large-format special edition showing Audrey Hepburn in Venice in 1956. The highlight of "Shaping Visions", however, is a collection of 22 black and white photographs by Otto Steinert. "Steinert left his mark on German postwar photography like no other. He spanned the arc from 'New Seeing' to 'Subjective Photography,' broke with the conventions of documentary photography, and fundamentally influenced the visual language with his tension-filled compositions," comments Anna Zimm, photography expert at Leitz Photographica Auction. The bundle comprises icons such as Maske einer Tänzerin, Blick vom Arc de Triomphe, Ein-Fuß-Gänger und Lampen der Place de la Concorde. The vintage prints come directly from the stock of Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante in São Paulo. The estimated price is 200,000 to 300,000 euros.

Live on-site, in written form, online, or by telephone

The 43rd Leitz Photographica Auction will take place over the span of two days Hotel Bristol in Vienna. On November 24, the "Shaping Visions" photography auction takes place; on November 25, the auction of vintage cameras will follow. Bids can be submitted in advance – online (, in written form, or by telephone. Live bidding during the auction is possible on-site or at and

43rd Leitz Photographica Auction 
Where: Hotel Bristol, Vienna 
When: November 24, 18h CET; and November 25, 11h CET
For questions regarding registration and bids, please contact:
Leitz Photographica Auction
Andreas Schweiger
T +43 1 523 56 59 – 18

Press and media enquiries: 
Yield Public Relations
Leonard Häusler-Dworschak
T +43 676 50 22 609


Press Release Announcement 43. Leitz Photographica Auction October 2023.pdf
pdf (90.97 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.