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$1.08 million Leica 0-Series prototype headlines Leitz auction

$1 million Leica 0-series prototype headlines Leitz auction
(Image credit: Leitz Photographica)

A stunning and rare Leica 0-Series prototype, valued at up to $1.08 million, is the headline attraction of the upcoming 36th Leitz Photographica auction, set to take place in Vienna on 13 June 2020.

The Leica 0-Series prototype has a starting price of €400,000 ($433,414 / £349,260 / AU$687,528), with a guide price of €800,000 to €1 million ($866,623 / £698,572 / AU£1,375,466 to $1.08 million / 873,013 / AU$1.72 million).

Such is the rarity of this prototype – one of only three in existence – that it seems guaranteed to break the auction's "magic price barrier" of one million euros (as was the case last year, when the Leica MP black paint No. sold for an astonishing €1.02 (opens in new tab) million (US$1.13 million / £861,233 / AU$1.66 million)).

According to the Leitz Photographica listing (opens in new tab), this camera – which featured in the revised edition of Leica: A History Illustrating Every Model and Accessory (available at Amazon (opens in new tab)) – sits between the Ur-Leica and the first 0-Series production models, and represents the technical development from prototype to final product.

Before achieving its finished form in around 1938, this model functioned as a test camera for years. As such it received numerous modifications, including the replacement of the original type folding finder with a tubular design. Its lens is believed to be a BK 50/II from between 1920-21, an early 5-element design. 

As always, the 36th Leitz Photographica auction features all manner of rare and esoteric Leicas including the Leica M2 grey paint betreibskamera (valued at up to €500,000), the Leica M2 black paint "Walker Evans" (€50,000) and the gaudy gold-plated Leica M6 gold "Sultan of Brunei" (€35,000). 

For more information (including bidding details, if you're brave), visit the official auction website (opens in new tab).

Read more: 

The best Leica cameras (opens in new tab) in 2020: from classic rangefinders to modern mirrorless
THIS is why Leica is so expensive (opens in new tab)
Leica SL2 review (opens in new tab)

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James Artaius
James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.