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Leica III Black with a strange top cover


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Friends, last week I purchased a good condition black Leica III, with evident paint wear, mainly in the corners, but more accented in the top cover. But the most intriguing detail is the top cover engravings. I never saw similar engravings in any Leica before. The inscription was made in relief instead a depression filled with black enamel, as the Leica standard is. At first glance gives the impression that it was filled with some material such as silver, but it is too perfect to have been handmade. The paint around the engraving seems to have been worn deliberately. Some of you have seen something like this before?

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hello carlos

i'm certainly no expert, but comparing your III with mine from 1939, i'm concerned that they don't look like products from the same manufacturer?   i'll watch this thread to see what advice the experts will offer you.

good luck.

rick

 

PS. i think your question should be moved from the S forum to the rangefinder / barnack section where it will get more attention

Edited by rickp13
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I have a a number of black II Model Ds with SNs in the 90xxx range and a black III with an SN in the 172xxx range. All of them seem to have the engravings in a material which fills up the black enamel and has turned to a golden colour with age. My impression is that if the enamel were removed the filling material, if still hard, would remain raised like this because of the depth of the enamel which once was there. I also have an early bright chrome III in very good condition with an SN of 116XXX from the first batch of chrome IIIs but that is completely different as it has black material in an engraving onto the chrome top. As it is one of the bright chrome 'hard wearing' models this is very clear to see. I believe that what you are showing may have been a result of the enamelling and engraving techniques used at that time. A look at other features of the camera would confirm whether it is genuine or not, but I see reason to doubt it is genuine at this stage. The SN properly belongs to a black enamel III from 1933.

 

William

Edited by willeica
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The very first black leica were first engraved and next filled with silver bismuth after then painted and when hard and dry lapped to let the filling reapears.

on a pict join we can see the relief of the filling even if the camera is an M4

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Braconi, this M4 picture shows a very similar engraving as I see on my III. I have several Leicas in my collection, around 30 cameras, including another black Leica II with serial number near to this, and I am absolutely sure that this camera is not a fake: I disassemble it amost complete for CLA.

How can I move this post to the more appropriate "Barnack Section"? 

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Searching on the WEB I found this camera with a serial number near to mine: close pay attention to the picture, seems to me that it have the same type of engraving,

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I have 4 black enamel cameras from this period and they are all the same as the ones that you found on the web. There is nothing unusual about your camera. This is just what happens when the engraving filler gets old and hardens and the surrounding enamel gets worn away. Don't forget that the filler had to be thick enough to to reach the 'top surface' of the enamel.  There is no more to it than that. Chrome cameras are different as they have a different type of 'covering' and an engraving can be made and filled with black colouring without the issue of a paint layer.

 

William

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I am convinced that Leitz used this other method of engraving their black enamel II and III cameras in that period, something around the 100.000 serial numbers. The pictures I posted here before show other cameras with the same kind of inscriptions. The more important fact is that not only the top cover marks was made this kind; the frame counter arrow indicator and the rewind lever's letter "R" and his arrow, was made in that same way, as well as the marks ZU and AUF in the bottom plate.  

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood%27s_metal

 

 

This is the material which was used by Leitz factory to fill into the engravings of the old black enamel Leica bodies. Yes, a big part of that is bismut but also contains lead, tin and cadmium in different percentages, so "bismut" is not the right but most used name of that alloy.

 

The engravings of black enamelled lenses which were fabricated in the same time were often filled in with wood´s alloy in the same way.

 

Best regards

 

Wolfgang

Edited by wpo
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood%27s_metal

 

 

This is the material which was used by Leitz factory to fill into the engravings of the old black enamel Leica bodies. Yes, a big part of that is bismut but also contains lead, tin and cadmium in different percentages, so "bismut" is not the right but most used name of that alloy.

 

The engravings of black enamelled lenses which were fabricated in the same time were often filled in with wood´s alloy in the same way.

 

Best regards

 

Wolfgang

I wrote "silver" (looks like) to don't afraid people 

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