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Cameras/old Leica camera


Leica A
Leica A  

Leica A
Leica A  
Hi David - Several weeks ago I replied to your email with the serial number of the Leica A I was asking about, plus attached some pictures, but I did not receive a reply. Here is the information again: the serial number I believe is 38048. It is a bit difficult to read.


Hello Roxanne,

Never got your earlier e-mail with the camera's serial number and pics. I checked, I have all my incoming messages from the past three months, and you're not there. Cyber gremlins...

This is indeed a Leica I (also known as a Leica Model A, or often called a Leica I (A) to make it easier to distinguish from other variations in the Leica I series), a standard viewfinder 35mm camera, made by Leitz of Germany around 1930. This model has extreme historical significance because it is the first full production Leica camera, but it's essentially rather common, as over 57,000 were sold from 1926 to 1932, and it seems like all of them have survived. The most notable thing about your example is that it's in nearly excellent overall used condition (obvious wear on the nickel parts, the underlying brass showing through the black finish along all the edges and corners of the body, the leatherette covering is smooth from years of handling, but not damaged, not scratched or scraped or warped, not missing any parts, fairly nice "patina", and 100% intact and original), and that's far better than the majority we find today. I'd wager it even still works. Incredibly, they usually do! Okay, a truly excellent example of a standard Leica I (A) camera, with a serial number placing it around 1930, is definitely a desirable piece, and should sell in the $800-$1100 range if placed in a competitive bidding environment like eBay.

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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