Ultra-Rare Leica MP2 Black Paint Camera Sells For Nearly $1.7 Million

Two classic Leica film cameras mounted on vertical grip attachments. The camera on the left shows the lens and controls from the front view, while the one on the right shows the camera's back view. Both grips feature a red base component with dials and sockets.

A rare 66-year-old Leica MP2 black paint camera has been sold for 1.56 million Euros, or nearly $1.68 million, at the 44th Leitz Photographica Auction in Wetzlar, Germany.

Like other historic rangefinder cameras, the Leica MP2 black paint is highly sought after by collectors. A test series in the late 1950s, Leica made only 27 MP2 cameras in total, and just six of them were made in the black paint version. The rarity of the item and the popularity of black paint Leica cameras instigated a bidding war.

A vintage black Leica M3 film camera with a textured finish is accompanied by three accessories: a detachable camera flash, a battery pack labeled "Schnelladung" and "Dauerladung," and a cylindrical telephoto lens attachment.
This Leica MP2 black paint camera sold for nearly $1.7 million at the Leitz Photographica Auction

“We are particularly pleased that our auction house was able to achieve a result of 1,560,000 euros for the Leica MP2 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the legendary Leica M. The result emphasizes the exceptional popularity that the Leica M system still enjoys today, both among collectors and professional photographers. It also speaks for the high level of trust in our auction house”, says Alexander Sedlak, Managing Director of Leitz Photographica Auction. The 44th edition of the auction took place last weekend on June 8th and included in-person and online bidders.

A photograph shows an auction in progress. Three people sit behind a desk with a sign that reads "Leitz Photographica Auction." One of them is speaking into a microphone. A screen displays "LOT 108 Leica MP2 black paint outfit" with a current bid of 1,300,000 €.

The Leica MP2, a pro-oriented modified version of the standard M2 that can shoot at up to 3.5 frames per second thanks to its specialized electric motor drive, was expected to sell for 700,000 to 800,000 euros ($752,265 to $859,732).

Another popular lot was an original condition Leica Luxus camera. The Leica I Mod A. Luxus sports a gold-plated body and special leather covering. Despite being manufactured nearly a century ago in 1931, this specific camera (serial number 48438) had never been restored. There are not many Luxus models left in existence, and most of them have been repaired and retouched. The gold camera sold for 288,000 euros ($309,435).

A vintage gold-plated camera with a leather-textured body, featuring various dials and knobs for adjustments. Accompanying the camera is a matching set of binoculars with the same gold and leather design. Both items have a luxurious and antique aesthetic.
Leica I Mod. A Luxus outfit

Rounding out the top three lots in terms of hammer price was one of the fastest and rarest lenses ever made by Ernst Leitz Canada (ELCAN), a large 90mm f/1 lens. Made in the 1970s for the United States Navy, the auctioned lens was number seven in a series of only 10, and sold for 192,000 euros ($206,285).

Close-up image of a large black camera lens marked with "U.S. NAVY PROPERTY" and "ELCAN 150mm f/2.8" on its outer casing. The lens is accompanied by two additional lens filters labeled "FOCUSED AT 20 M" and "FOCUSED AT 100 M".
Elcan 1/90mm

The complete catalog of all 402 lots and their auction results are available on the Leitz Photographica Auction website. The next auction is slated for October 18, 2024, and will undoubtedly feature many more rare and extravagant cameras and lenses.

Image credits: Leitz Photographica Auction