Leica That Shot ‘V-J Day in Times Square’ Photo Fetches $150K at Auction


Next time a significant other bugs you about how much you spend on photo gear, remind them how much worse it could be if you were into vintage kit.

Such as the 1931 Leica IIIa shown above, owned by the great Alfred Eisenstaedt and used to shoot everything from his iconic V-J Day image of a sailor kissing a girl in Times Square to a portrait session with President Bill Clinton. The camera sold at Vienna auction house last weekend for 114,000 Euros, equivalent to $147,117.

Which makes it bargain compared with the stars of the auction, a gold-plated Leica III “Luxus” (with two gold-plated lenses) that sold for the equivalent of $682,366 and a Leica M3 prototype that fetched $558,302.

Leica III Mod. F LUXUS ‘Karl Henkell’

Leica III Mod. F LUXUS ‘Karl Henkell’

Eisenstaedt’s iconic “V-J Day in Times Square”

Full results of the sale are available from auctioneer WestLicht Photographica, and what a cabinet of curiosities it is, with rarities ranging from a Hasselblad made for NASA to use on lunar missions ($43,400) to a Leica M6 blinged out for the King of Thailand ($17,000).

(via WestLicht Photographica via Imaging Resource)

Image credits: Photographs by WestLicht Photographica, Alfred Eisenstaedt

  • Gman

    I’ve been to Thailand, the king shoots a Nikon DLSR.

  • Jack

    Yeah, article is wrong since there is that pesky Thai law that says that people can only own one camera.

  • user

    It’s the special version made for the King but I believe he didn’t actually use it. Personally he uses Canons and (very) few Nikons.

  • chubbs

    So not far off from the typical cost of a Leica then.

  • Gman

    loosen up girls, it was a joke.

  • Kenneth

    At that price, they should include a strap and protective UV filter!

  • Michael D

    I wonder how many rolls Eisenstaedt’s camera had run through it.

  • Zachary Larsen

    I wish I could have afforded it. If I had that camera, I’ll bet I could take some really good photos, like the V-J day one.

  • ShootnHooton

    Judging by the perspective, I would argue that the V-J photo was not taken with that exact same outfit as I would swear that he has used a 35mm lens and not a 50mm for the shot. The viewfinder is for a 35mm lens so where is the lens? Someone has been ripped off!