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This Rare Contax ‘Rifle’ Camera is Valued at More Than $80,000

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Ahead of the 39th Leitz Photographica Auction that is scheduled to take place on November 20, the organization has published a full catalog of all items that are scheduled to appear, with particular attention paid to a few rare and unusual items.

While the full catalog contains 24 pages of cameras and lenses, the Leitz Photographica Auction has called particular attention to seven items that it thinks are of note, including a 1957 Leica MP valued at between $350,000 and $400,000, a prototype 50mm f/1.4 valued between about $140,000 and $163,000, and a Contax “rifle” developed for a sports photographer in 1936 valued at between about $70,000 and $81,000.

Leica MP Black Paint No.55

The Leitz Photographica Auction says that this Leica MP is one of only 412 ever produced, making it one of the rarest leica models of all time. The organization says that the black-paint version was acquired mainly by professional photographers and that many of the famous Magnum photographers used MP cameras.

“Today it is among the most sought-after Leicas of all,” the Leitz Photographica Auction writes. “The Leica MP is one of the most important Leica cameras made and probably the one that started the trend of black paint M cameras being used by professionals and loved by collectors nowadays.”

Leitz Photographica says that this particular sample is in beautiful conditions with only minimal signs of use and it is expected to draw between $350,000 and $400,000.

Summarit M 1/4 / 5CM First One Prototype No.A

Leitz Photographica describes this lens as a “sensational new discovery” and an important part of Leica’s history. The lens features a serial number of “A” which denotes it as a prototype. It shares some of the characteristics of early Summarit 50mm f/1.4 prototypes but has a few other unique features that separate it, such as an “unusual” focus tab and reversed knurling on the focus ring. It is believed to be the first 50mm f/1.4 from Leica with a Leica M bayonet.

Leitz Photographica says it is in almost perfect condition and it is expected to draw between about $140,000 and $163,000.

Contax Rifle 543/75 Outfit

Not even the auction house has much information on this one, but the Contax Rifle — also known as the Zeiss Ikon rifle 543/75 — was apparently developed 80 years ago for the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany by sports photographer Lothar Rübelt and is considered to be one of the rarest accessories for the Contax. It contains what the auction house calls a very rare, directly mounted Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 chrome lens along with a cable release and a matching viewfinder. It is described as being in “good” condition.

The Contax Rifle is valued at between about $70,000 and $81,000.

The remaining highlighted items can be viewed at the Leitz Photographica Auction website, and a full catalog of all items being offered in November can be perused through an interactive catalog.


Image credits: All photos via the Leitz Photographica Auction.

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