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Jony Ive-Designed Leica Prototype May Fetch Over $200,000 at Auction


The Leitz Photographica Auction will present a 2013 prototype model of a Leica camera designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson at auction in June. The camera is a one-off prototype produced during the creation of the Leica M for (RED) camera, which sold at a charity auction for $1.8 million in 2013.

Jony Ive is the now-famous designer who worked for Apple starting in the early 1990s until 2019 when he left the company to start his own design firm, LoveFrom. Marc Newson is an industrial designer who joined Ive at Apple shortly after working with him to produce the Leica M for (RED) camera (and of course this particular prototype). He eventually left Apple to co-found LoveFrom with Ive.

Comparing this particular prototype to what Ive and Newson eventually produced shows significant differences. For one, the prototype is totally smooth with a highly reflective polished metal surface.

Ive’s final design featured a textured wrap (covered in tiny holes) across the midsection of the camera. The top and bottom caps have a more matte finish, in stark contrast to the highly reflective look of the prototype.

As The Verge points out, it’s not entirely clear if this prototype actually functions as a camera, though. The notably short description doesn’t actually say:

A very special prototype Leica, designed by world-famous designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson.

A beautifully sculptured aluminum body with a matching Apo-Summicron 2/50 mm ASPH. lens — both showing distinctive features both designers are famous for. Only one finished camera has been made and was sold in an auction in 2013 for an amazing $ 1.8 M! The prototype we have the pleasure to offer shows the final development step when the camera took its final shape after hundreds of prototype parts have been made and tried. It is a beautiful piece of design and a very special opportunity for Leica collectors!

When the Leica M for (RED) was announced, Leica at the time said that a “total of 561 models and nearly 1,000 prototype parts” were made during its construction. The Leitz Auction will start bidding at 100,000 euros (~$117,686) and expects the prototype to reach a final price of between 200,000 and 250,000 euros (between about $235,000 and $294,000).

Image credits:
Images via The Leitz Photographica Auction.