A camera seems to have gained in value for the personality it captured during its working life. The Leica M3D owned by David Douglas Duncan was used to document the life of renowned artist Pablo Picaso. The legendary camera was sold at the latest Westlicht auction and fetched a whopping €1.68 million which is equivalent to almost $2.19 million. David Duncan, the 96 year old photographer worked for the Life magazine at the prime of his career. He enjoyed a close friendship with Picasso and published hundreds of exclusive photos of his celebrity friend. The Leica M3D in question was his primary camera during this period and that’s what has added value to the particular camera.
Three Cameras From a Serial Production Fetched €3.6 Million
This camera was manufactured way back in 1955. Only four pieces of the model were ever produced and the recent auction has made it the most expensive commercially produced camera ever. In fact the auction saw three most expensive Leica cameras from a serial production sold fetching a total price of €3.6 million. The second most expensive camera was a gold plated Leica which was made in 1929 and the successful bidder paid as much as €1.02 million or $1.3 million for it. The first of the serial production M3 was previously owned by Willi Stein who worked as a Chief Engineer with Leitz. His camera was also at the auction and fetched €0.9 million.
The prices recorded at the auction are remarkably high for cameras produced in a series. The prototypes or cameras created with unique specifications normally fetch high prices. The Westlicht auction in May this year had also witnessed a camera fetch €1.02 but it was a prototype. The other cameras also received a very good response at the auction. Three Leica MP cameras of the Magnum photographer Paul Fusco saw aggressive bidding and finally went for €858,000 which was over ten times the opening bid. The first Leica owned by the famous Magnum co-founder Robert Capa went for a significant €78,000. The other highlight of the auction was a Soviet space camera that fetched €57,600. The auction was a grand success as 92% of the camera lots found buyers resulting in a total collection of €8.24 million.