British photographic history

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World record £603,837 for a Leica Luxus I camera

This item, lot 2104, an Exceptional Leica Luxus I, circa 1930, No.40848 with a 50mm f3.5 Elmar lens, and a faux lizard skin body covering had been estimated to sell for HK$1,200,000-1,800,000. In the end it was knocked down for almost seven times that amount on Friday.

Jon Baddeley, Head of Collectables at Bonhams, said after the sale: "This was the first Leica sale in Hong Kong and the results more than justify our belief in the idea of bringing these wonderful cameras to China which has a rapidly emerging market for vintage cameras. We took a bit of a gamble but it has paid off handsomely Already we can see that this market is outstripping New York and London."

This camera was from the collection of E. J. Newton (Jack), one of the founder members of the Leica Historical Society and its first president. It remained within his private museum in Sutton Coldfield, England, and later, along with most of his collection, went on display at the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, Milsom St., Bath. Thence to current vendor.

The Luxus cameras were produced on special order only in very tiny numbers between 1929 and 1930, using serial numbers falling between 28692 and 68834. Just 95 units were produced and many less are known to exist today. You can read the rest of the report here.

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