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Cameras/Leica IIIc (possibly SS)



Hello, I have a Leica IIIc 1941. According to family history, it belonged to an SS officer. I researched and cameras of the SS had no special badge. I thought that maybe you could know if this camera was made for the SS with the serial number.

Is it possible to know this information? And should have belonged to the SS, what value would reach for a collector? The camera works perfectly and has its original case. Thank you.


No Leica cameras were ever specifically made for the German SS during World War II. The SS either acquired Leica cameras from other military branches, usually the Luftwaffe , or from standard civilian lots. One branch of the SS, the Kriegsberichter (their war correspondents) was known to hand engrave their cameras with SS KB or SS KBA with an additional three-digit number for inventory control, but these cameras were not acquired by any special order from the factory. Without a marking, it is impossible to connect your camera to the SS, and the serial number 387759 does not appear on the factory records for any other Nazi military branch. Your Leica IIIc was made by Leitz of Germany in 1942 for the civilian market. It was modified after the war, and a flash synchronization post was added to the front of the body, so it is no longer in original condition. Over 130,000 Leica IIIc's were produced from 1940 to 1950, and they remain very common, but the IIIc is considered a classic model. A modified example of a wartime IIIc like yours, assuming excellent overall condition and a clean functional Summar 5cm f/2 normal lens, would sell for around $400-$450 in today's collectible camera market.

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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