A private collector in Asia just bought her or himself the most expensive camera ever sold at auction, making away with an ultra-rare Leica 0-series no. 122 for the mind-boggling price of €2.4 million (approximately $2.97M USD, or £2.15M)—a sum reached when you combine the hammer price of €2 million with the €400,000 premium.

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The auction took place on Saturday at the famed WestLicht auction house in Vienna, where Leica majority owner and chairman of the board Andreas Kaufmann was there to watch the record be set.

Leica 0-series no. 122 | Photo: WestLicht

According to WestLicht, the astronomical price "reflects the camera's fantastic original condition." Only 25 of these 'test' cameras were produced by Ernst Leitz in 1923—two years before the first Leica camera was officially brought to market—and WestLicht claims that of those 25, only three are known to still be in 'original condition.'

Speaking of which: this sale beat the former €2.16 million (~$2.67M USD) record price paid for another Leica 0-series (no. 116) in 2012.

Press Release

The Most Expensive Camera Ever

Leica camera sold for 2,400,000 Euro (USD 2,976,000) at WestLicht record auction

The 32nd WestLicht Camera Auction brought not one but two record winning results. With the new world record price of 2.4 million Euro (2 million hammer price plus premium) the Leica 0-series no. 122 is the World's most expensive camera to date. Furthermore, the auction turned out to be the most successful one in the rich history of the Vienna auction house.

The Leica 0-series had started at a price of 400,000 Euro and rose to a result 6 times higher. A private collector from Asia emerged as the winner from the exciting bidding war. The remarkable price certainly also reflects the camera's fantastic original condition. In 1923, two years before the first Leica was introduced to the market, Ernst Leitz produced 25 of this test camera, only three of which are known to still be in the original condition.

The previous record holder, a Leica 0-series with no. 116, was also auctioned at WestLicht in 2012 for 2.16 million Euro. Peter Coeln, WestLicht founder: "The outstanding result once again emphasizes the international leading position of our auction house". Leica majority owner and chairman of the board Andreas Kaufmann added: "This world record price of 2.4 million Euro demonstrates the ongoing and ever-growing myth of the Leica brand."

A further excellent result was achieved by another Leica camera from the famous collection of Jim Jannard (founder of Oakley): A Leica MP-89 black paint climbed from a starting price of 120,000 to 456,000 Euro. A Leica MP-2, the first camera with electric motor drive, changed ownership for 432,000 Euro. For the comparatively moderate sum of 48,000 Euro a collector purchased the Hasselblad Lunar Surface SWC which was manufactured for the Apollo missions.

The overall sales rate of the 32nd WestLicht Camera Auction was at 91% of the 530 lots, with close to 100% among the Leica items.

Next WestLicht Auction is scheduled for November this year.