Antiques: Collectors from all over the world love a Leica camera

Whenever I am shown a group shot photograph the first person I look for is myself. If I am not there the relief is palpable, if I am, the image which stares back at me never fails to disappoint. The expression “the camera never lies” just adds to my disappointment.

By Michael Dowse
Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:38 pm

With all the ‘apps’ available today though, the camera can in fact lie very easily.

Images can be improved with very little effort.

All those years ago when the pioneers were struggling just to develop a clear black and white photograph, the thought of taking, viewing, improving and printing a colour photograph in less time than it took to set up their camera, would never have entered their Victorian heads.

Leica camera

The same can be said for Oskar Barnack. Who was Oskar Barnack?

He was a very clever gentleman who in 1911 joined the Leitz company run by Ernst Leitz and who had a passion for photography and was dedicated to building a portable camera.

In 1913 he built a prototype and in 1914 he developed it enough for Ernst to take with him on a trip to New York.

Between 1914 and 1924 a lot of water flows under the company’s bridges and the camera goes into production.

It is called Leica 1, Lei from the company name and ca from the word camera.

In 1925 it is presented at the Leipzig Spring Fair and the rest is history.

The camera is a rip-roaring success, the quality is superb and all future developments to it and other models are amazing.

Surprisingly it was not until 1986 that the company changed the name from Leitz to Leica and the Leica Camera division became a private independent company.

What a company it was and still today their products are the envy of the world.

Collectors the world over love a Leica and in a recent auction we conducted with a collection of cameras, including many Leicas, most of the estimates were exceeded by large amounts.

We are privileged and I have to say excited that next Thursday, October 14, we have another camera auction with more Leicas on display at the antiques gallery.

Can life get any better than that?