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Leica IIIg camera
Leica IIIg camera  
Hi David,

My later father-in-law had a Leica IIIg camera in his possession when he passed away and now my wife has the camera.  It was not the original camera he purchased in the late 1950s - he brought the camera to a repair shop where it "disappeared." The shop then got him an exact camera as a replacement, which, according to my wife, he never used much.  It still works - yet has low sentimental value to my wife because it was not the camera he purchased as a young man.  My wife wonders where a good place would be sell such a camera and get a fair price for it.  I've attached a photo that includes a lens as well as two cases for it.  Any assistance would be appreciated.

Hello Tom,

The Leica IIIg is a problematic camera. It's the last, and the most advanced, of the "screw mount" models that Leitz produced, about 41,000 sold between 1957 and 1960, so you'd think it would be the most desirable. However, it was offered at the same time as their first "bayonet mount" model, the legendary Leica M3, and therefore sort of pales in comparison. In a sense, it was a mistake on their part to introduce the Leica IIIg at all, but most historians believe there was some necessity because Leitz wanted to continue to appease users who already owned a variety of older "screw mount" lenses. Today the market for the Leica IIIg is volatile and sporadic. Certainly more valuable than the vast majority of similar 35mm cameras of that era, but prone to the changing proclivities of collectors. Fickle. But prices seem to have stabilized recently, so it's a decent time to sell. For a truly excellent example with an appropriate matching Leitz 5cm normal lens (like the Summitar on yours), I would suggest a fair market value in the $650-$750 range. Collectors will consider external cosmetic condition most importantly, but if there are mechanical problems you might have to accept a lower price. The additional lens is an Elmar 9cm f/4 portrait lens, and frankly that's the single most numerous accessory lens Leitz ever made. Common as dust. Assuming truly excellent condition, free of any internal mist or dust, you might get around $100. Really tough pieces to sell these days. Not something you'd market locally (dealers will only insult you with low-ball offers) or dangle on Craigslist. I'd recommend eBay because I can't think of a better way to find a broad based audience that would generate enough competitive bidding. The other option, if it suits your comfort level, is send the kit to me and I'll broker it for you. I'm in the middle of selling off a major Leica collection for an elderly "retired" camera collector right now, so I have the attention of Leica buyers all over the world. I could have it sold and the money in your hands in a week to ten days. Normally I charge a straight 30% commission, but for a single sale for a "mundane" client (ie. not a participant in the vintage camera field), I'd reduce that to 20%. Let me know if that appeals to you. You have eBay if you want it, but you'd realize a better profit if I handled the sale for you, and obviously there's no effort or time on your part. Drop me a line if you want help. My e-mail is provided below.

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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