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Super-Rare Leica M3 Double-Stroke Camera To be Auctioned In November

An extremely rare and very early double-stroke black paint Leica M3 model will be auctioned by Chiswick Auctions in November, which was used by Magnum Photographic agency in the 1950s.

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Leica M3

A very rare Leica M3 double-stroke, black paint edition camera is coming up for auction in November.


One of the earliest examples of this type of camera, this Leica M3 model was delivered to the magnum Photo Agency in Paris in 1958. 

"Factory delivery records show that only 90 of these pre-series cameras were sent before the first official batch of black M3 rangefinders in 1959, of which this is a survivor. It is not known how many others are still in existence from such a small production number." 

Leica M3

The M3 model will go under the hammer at Chiswick Auctions on Thursday 14 November 2019 in a sale of Photographica. The serial number on the camera in the sale, records it as the 15th black paint M3 camera to have been produced, which means that it’s the second earliest example of this model ever to be offered at auction. (The earliest example, the second of the batch, sold in 2014 for £320,000 in Hong Kong). 

This example has a conservative estimate of £60,000-£80,000 but due to its popularity and rarity, it is expected to achieve much more.

Of the camera, experts at Chiswick Auctions said: "It was Leica’s M series (like the example in our sale), that helped consolidate the legendary status of the camera brand. Leica maintains its reputation as the world’s best lens-maker and its M series cameras are compared to Rolls Royce or Rolex status. Every photographer describes Leica as the ultimate in camera brands."

Back in 2016, the 4th Leica M3 to come off the 154 production line was auctioned off, with a guide price of 50-60,000 Euros.

We recently reviewed Leica's latest full-frame premium compact, the Q2, which has a design still very much based on the M3. 

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