Rare Lime Green Leica Up for Sale Is a Vibrant Part of Photographic History

A Leica M6 camera with a vibrant green leather covering and a silver 50mm lens attached, isolated on a white background.

An extremely rare Leica M6 model, one of only six made, is up for auction by Bonhams.

The 2001 camera is one of six gifted to as many notable photographers. Qatari art collector Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani commissioned the cameras as gifts to Khalifa Al-Obaidly, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, and Sebastiao Salgado.

Leica M6 camera with a green leather case and silver top with a dial and controls for settings. there's an engraving that reads "As a gift to Richard Avedon.

The unit in question is the fourth in the lineup, given to Richard Avedon.

An engraving on the Leica reads, “As a gift to Richard Avedon,” accompanied by Al-Thani’s signature. It features a bright green leather body covering, which stands out among Leica’s offerings, which are usually a bit more buttoned-up in their styling.

The auction also includes a Summilux-M 1:1.4 50mm lens, lens cap, and leather strap. However, the listing states, “Please note that this camera was never used by Richard Avedon to create any of his photographs.”

According to the auction listing, Avedon eventually gave the camera to its current owner, who was working in his New York studio.

The rare Leica will be auctioned on Wednesday, April 24, in London. It is expected to sell for a final bid between $37,000 and $62,000.

A Leica M6 film camera with a bright green leather covering and a silver metal body, featuring a large lens and detailed dials and controls on the top.

The late Al-Thani, a Qatari prince, was a massive fan of Leica during his time. He purchased a Leica APO-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm lens for an incredible $2,064,500, making it the most expensive lens ever sold. It’s also the Leica’s longest, largest, and heaviest lens. He further reportedly purchased a custom Mercedes Benz to transport the lens.

With that, it comes as little surprise Al-Thani opted for Leica’s M6 as a gift. It is, in PetaPixel‘s own words, “one of the best 35mm film cameras of all time.” Leica stopped making them after 2002, just a year after Al-Thani’s commission.

Two views of a Leica M6 camera from above and below, all against a white background.

“If M6 shooters are passionate, then it’s because the camera asks them to be in the moment, to make the photo, to become an instrumental part of the camera. Call it camera zen,” PetaPixel comments in its retrospective on the beloved camera. “Where else can you attain the same level of connectedness?”

For $37,000 to $62,000, the winning bidder will also be connected to photography history in a very vibrant and unusual-looking way.

Image credits: Photographs by Bonhams