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Cameras/What is this Leica camera worth?



My mother-in-law wants to sell a Leica camera and has no idea what it is worth.  I don't know anything about cameras.  Here is the information I have on it.  Leica DRP Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Germany. No. 336006 with Summitar f=5cm 1.2 lens.  There are a few accessories as well. There is a lens that says, Wollensak 90MM F/4.5 Ser.II Velostigmat No 477555, what looks like a range finder Eleitz New York USA 1860, and exposure meter that is a Weston Master.  There is also a leather case for the camera and a larger one for all of the accessories, but they are worn.  I can send pictures of the other items if it helps.

Any idea on it's worth and the best place to sell it?  She lives in the Chicago area.

Hello Jeff,

That's a Leica IIIb, a traditional coupled rangefinder camera for 35mm film, made by Leitz of Germany in 1939. They produced over 32,000 of these from 1938 to 1941, and they remain fairly common today, but not nearly as common as the models IIIa and IIIc that were offered around the same time. A truly excellent working example of the Leica IIIb, with proper matching Leitz 5cm normal lens (such as the Summitar on this one), should sell in the $350-$400 range in today's collectible camera market. The Velostigmat 90mm f/4.5 short telephoto or portrait lens dates from just after the war, somewhere in the 1946 to 1950 period, when Leitz wasn't yet capable of meeting the demand for their own lenses, so the American firm of Wollensak produced a series of lenses for the Leica line to fill the void. The American made lenses for Leica are somewhat uncommon, but not highly regarded. An excellent example of the Velostigmat 90mm f/4.5 lens would bring maybe $100-$125. I can't comment about the Leitz New York rangefinder without seeing it. To maximize the value of these pieces, you need the largest possible market. They're too common for me to recommend any specific need to go for the greater public exposure. I'm afraid that means eBay. List the camera with its Summitar lens separately from the Velostigmat portrait lens. If you want me to assess the rangefinder as well, or any other accessories, send a couple more pics. The Weston meter is essentially worthless. The cases, especially if heavily worn, are also worthless.

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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