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I sent  you mail asking for an approximate valuation of the Leitz Elmar 50mm 3.5 Serial No 313474 In accordance  with your reply i enclose photos as requested.  The camera was handed down to me by a member of our family who had German contacts during the 50 and 60s. From notes provided by last owner we believe it is a 1939 rangefinder. There are many accessories filters lenses etc. I wait to hear from you Many thanks William


Hello William,

This is a Leica Standard (also marketed as the Leica Model E), a basic 35mm viewfinder camera with focal plane shutter, made by Leitz of Germany throughout the 1930's.  Your example dates from 1939.  This is not a rangefinder model.  Just the opposite, the Leica Standard specifically lacks the coupled rangefinder mechanism that aids focusing so that it would be more affordable for amateur photographers.  In a sense, this is a "poor man's" Leica.  It appears to be in very nice overall cosmetic condition (obviously I can't judge its functional condition), and if the shutter at least provides a healthy "thwick" when fired and the lens optics are clean, you're holding a US$400 to US$500 item.  That value is collectible, not usable.  The Standard is too primitive for all except the most determined vintage camera users.  But it's a little classic, and therefore the good collectible value.  I believe it's a fairly difficult piece to sell in the UK, the market for these is strongly rooted in the USA and also the far east.  If you'd like for me to find a buyer over here, let me know at the e-mail address below and I'll see what I can do for you.

Best wishes,

David F. Silver - President
International Photographic Historical Organization  


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David Silver


I'm an expert on all types of antique, classic, and contemporary cameras, as well as the general history of photography. Everything from ancient box cameras to modern single-lens-reflex; from simple Kodaks to sophisticated Leica and Nikon; from glass plates and roll film to movie and 35mm. I can identify and appraise them, explain how they work, and offer insights on their restoration and care. I can also provide historical background on vintage cameras and equipment, and guidelines on their purchase and sale.


I've been a professional photographer and a student of the history of photography for nearly 30 years. During that time my collection of vintage cameras and photographic paraphernalia has grown beyond 2000 significant pieces. I've published nearly 70 articles in the field, including 16 in the popular "Buying Classic Cameras" series for PHOTO SHOPPER MAGAZINE from 1995 to 1997, I'm currently a contributing editor for CAMERA SHOPPER MAGAZINE and McKEOWN'S PRICE GUIDE TO ANTIQUE AND CLASSIC CAMERAS, and I've written numerous entries for WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA. Portions of my collection have been displayed in museums and special exhibits in the past two decades, and many of the items were photographed as illustrations for books. In 1985 I founded the International Photographic Historical Organization (InPHO), which eventually evolved into its intended purpose as the best first resource for information on the history of photography. I'm also a founding member of several e-mail forums dedicated to specialized areas of photography, and I'm the moderator of the Internet Directory of Camera Collectors (IDCC), which remains the largest and most successful such group in the world. For more information about the International Photographic Historical Organization and its many services, please visit its web pages at:

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