This camera will sell for millions! Rare Leica 0-series goes up for auction

Leica 0-series no. 121
(Image credit: Weltzar Camera Auction)

Before Leica became the name in luxury cameras as it is today, the German power-house had to design the first-ever 35mm film camera. This first prototype camera was known as the Leica 0-Series, and only 22 to 25 cameras were made for testing purposes, of which 16 are known to exist worldwide today. 

Ernst Leitz II decided in 1924 to serial-produce these cameras designed by Oskar Barnack, and the rest as they say is history, hence why the prototype cameras are now worth a pretty penny, in fact, Oskar Barnack's own Leica 0-Series camera sold for an eye-watering US$15 million!

From a historical standpoint, the Leica 0-series cameras are the most sought-after and significant Leica cameras to add to anyone's collection, and that's where the one is going to end up, among some of the world’s leading Leica collectors, which in turn means this will fetch a rather heavy sum when it goes under the hammer on October 7, 2023.

The auction house that is selling this wonderful camera is Wetzlar Camera Auction (WCA) based in Wetzlar, at the birthplace of the Leica camera. WCA has already achieved many world record prices for particularly rare and exclusive cameras over the years.

On October 7 2023, this fine example of the Leica 0-series will come to auction at Wetzlar Camera Auctions. It is camera No. 121 (with No. 101 beginning the series) hence this i the 21st example of these cameras made in Wetzlar in 1923. 

The camera comes from an Italian private collection and was last sold there over 30 years ago and now has a starting bid of €800,000 (approximately US$857,400) with an estimate of €1,500,000 - €2,000,000 (around US$1.6m - $2.1m)

The auction will also coincide with the 100th birthday of the camera - so raid the savings account, because this camera is likely to sell for a lot of cash!

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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.