$500,000 Leica alongside rare Marilyn Monroe photos sold at auction

Leitz Photographica Auction
(Image credit: Leitz Photographica Auction)

The Leitz Photographica Auction is always an event that hosts some extremely rare and wonderful examples of Leica's rich history. And the 41st auction, which just took place in Vienna, was no exception.

A series of edition prints of Marilyn Monroe, then an unknown actress shot by Hollywood photographer Andre de Dienes in 1949, on Tobay Beach in Long Island, attracted interest from bidders all over the world. The three prints formed the charity lot and were originally estimated at approximately $4,214 - $8,429 (£3,426 - £6,852 / AU$6,199 - 12,398), ultimately selling for $16,647 (£13,362 / AU$24,175).

Edition prints of Marilyn Monroe (Image credit: Leitz Photographica Auction)

But Marilyn Monroe wasn't the only sellout from the 41st Leitz Photographica Auction, as a rare a German military spec Leica M4 in Olive green hit the headlines as the most expensive military camera ever sold through an auction house. 

With a top book estimation $368,777.50 (£299,792 / AU$542,391), at the end of the bidding process it was brought for a record-breaking $568,971 (£462,536 / AU$836,832). 

"Never before has such a high sum been paid for a green M4," said Alexander Sedlak, managing director of Leica Camera Classics and Leitz Photographica. "It is likely to be the most expensive military camera ever sold at auction."

German military-spec Leica M4 in Olive (Image credit: Leitz Photographica Auction)

This wasn't the only military camera to be sold at the auction, nor the only military Leica for that matter. Two British military models were also up for grabs: a Leica IIIa British Marine and a Leica Standard British Navy 'Admiralty NP. 

Both drew in a number of bidders, and when it come down to it both were being fought over by two collectors who were friends. Thankfully no friendships were broken, as ended up taking home one camera each.

Leica IIIa British Marine (Image credit: Leitz Photographica Auction)

Leica Standard British Navy ‘Admiralty NP’ (Image credit: Leitz Photographica Auction)

While these prices might sound astronomical to many, to collectors of Leica products these cameras hold significant historical interest and value, providing a fascinating living insight into how the brand developed over the years. Not going to lie, I love the look of the Leica M4 Olive – but I certainly wouldn't be able to match the price tag!

If this was been of interest then we highly recommend taking a look at our best Leica camera guide (opens in new tab), or if you want to know the best lens for your Leica then take a deep dive into our best Leica M lenses (opens in new tab) or best Leica SL lenses (opens in new tab).

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.