One lucky teen struck gold when he stumbled across a Leica M4 film camera (opens in new tab) and several sought-after lenses for $15 at a garage sale in Detroit, Michigan. The 16-year old, whose hobbies include tennis and snowboarding, had no idea the kit was worth over $7,200.
The teenage, known as Tyler B, attended a garage sale at a local church looking for old watches and camera equipment. As reported by PetaPixel (opens in new tab), amongst the hoards of bric-a-brac, vintage crockery, and piles of clothes, he discovered a Kodak 35 and a “fancy looking” camera he’d never heard of before. Not knowing what he had unearthed, Tyler decided to leave the camera and carry on with his holiday plans.
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Luckily, Tyler's friend stepped in. Tyler says, “I would have never had gone back to get the Leica if I hadn’t stopped and talked to my friend who said that it was a very good camera.”
Not only did Tyler end up with a Leica M4, worth up to $3,000 at auction, but he also has an extensive set of lenses to use with it. The kit included a 35mm f/2 Summicron worth $2,500, a 50mm f/2 Summicron worth $1,500, a 9cm f/4 Elmar lens, and Leica ITDOO lens worth $100 apiece plus a Leica Meter and leather cases for each piece of kit.
After a bit of bartering, Tyler ended up with change from his $20 bill, getting the seller down to $15 for the lot. Despite his bargain of the century, he said “funny enough, I get home and my mom ends up getting mad that I bought two cameras. She still doesn’t believe it’s worth that much.”(opens in new tab)
The cameras were put to one side and forgotten about while Tyler went on vacation with his family. When he got back he posted about his find in a Leica camera group on Facebook so he could find out more information.
In the group, he asked “Can anyone give me more info on the Leica M4? Sorry if this is the wrong group I just picked one up for $10 at a garage sale and I’m curious as to if it’s good? I’m sorry that the photo is taken with an iPhone.”
As expected, Tyler received a stream of comments from photographers and Leica lovers alike who were astonished by his good fortune.
Since the post, Tyler has been in contact with members of the Facebook group to make sure the camera is in working order.
As a way of giving back, Tyler has also said he wants to “give the church or whoever’s it was some more money as that is the ethical thing to do.”