Someone Bought a Leica for $24,000 in 2019 and Sold for $480,000 in 2021

Talk about the ultimate camera flip: it has come to light that some savvy camera collector (or investor) won a rare Leica camera at auction in 2019 for $24,000 before turning around two years later and re-selling it at auction for a staggering $480,000.

Leica Rumors reports that one of its readers (who wishes not to be named) won the black-painted Leica IIIg camera at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in April 2019 for a final price of £17,500 (~$24,000).

“Produced from 1957-1960, the Leica IIIg was the last screw-mount model produced,” the auction listing’s description stated. “Most were produced in chrome, but 125 black versions were produced for the Swedish army. Other than these, which are all engraved with three crowns, the Leica IIIg being offered for sale here is the only other black paint version known to exist and predates the Swedish versions.”

The camera came with a letter of authentication from Leica itself (which stated the camera was “produced by a Leitz technician as a final test project”), a black Leicavit base plate with integral rapid winder, a Leitz Summarit 50mm f/1.5 lens, a Summarit lens hood, a Leitz Elmarit 90mm f/2.8 black lens, and an embossed brown leather hard case.

A photo from the original Dominic Winter Auctioneers listing showing the camera, two lenses, and proof of authentication from Leica. Photo: Dominic Winter Auctioneers.
The 2019 auction listing showing the sale price of £17,500.

Two years later, the new owner put the same camera (serial number 909908) up for sale at the 38th Leitz Photographica Auction in Vienna in June 2021.

Although the pre-sale estimate pegged the value at €24,000 to €26,000 (~$28,000 to $30,500), the camera somehow ended up selling with a hammer price (including buyer’s premium) of €408,000 (~$479,200).

The 2021 auction showing the sale price of €408,000. Photo: Leitz Photographica Auction.

In other words, the anonymous person behind this unbelievable “flip” enjoyed a nearly 1,900% return on investment in two short years.

As one commenter at Leica Rumors puts it: “Buy a camera for the price of used car; sell it for the price of a new house.”

Hopefully the previous owner isn’t kicking themselves too hard for not holding out for a higher price…

Image credits: Header photograph via Dominic Winter Auctioneers