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Cameras/old leica camera



my brother recently passed and I had the task of cleaning out his home. While doing so I found an old leica camera that belonged to my dad. I remember him using this camera when I was a child (I'm now 66). On the top of the camera are the #'s 38079 & 362938. On the lense is the # 494556. I was wondering if you could give me any information concerning this camera. I believe it has been stored in the same dresser drawer for over 50 years without use.
I took a few photos of this camera I will attempt to attach. Thanks very much for your time and consideration.
regards, robert

Hello Robert,

This is an example of a Leica IIIb camera, an otherwise fairly common model of 35mm coupled rangefinder camera, that was specifically requisitioned from the Leitz factory in March of 1940 for the German military during WWII. The 38079 stamp is the requisition code. The value of the camera depends on its overall condition. It should have an additional stamp on it somewhere on the back, either an engraving on the chrome or pressed directly into the leatherette, indicating "Luftwaffen Eigentum". If that marking is missing, or it's been defaced, the camera will have little value beyond the normal average market value for a typical old worn Leica IIIb. If the Luftwaffen Eigentum stamp is there and intact and still bold, the camera essentially doubles in value, although we still have to consider whatever adjustment for overall cosmetic and functional condition. Take a look at the camera again, see if the marking is there, and get back to me perhaps with two additional pics, one showing the entire back and another showing the entire front, then we can better assess condition and value. If it's any easier for you, feel free to contact me directly at my e-mail address 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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