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Hi, I was sent here by Adam Miller,

Attached are some photos of a Leica that I am struggling to Identify. Even with searching numbers.

the number on the top of the camera is "Nr. 117679" and on the Lens is "Nr. 1394403" (lens I believe is mid 1950s)

The Item came as part of a house clearance and was saved from going in a skip.

Any help with getting a year or model for the camera body would be very much appreciated. Thanks

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From the number it should be a chrome III, about 1933, but it is obviously a black paint one, looking fairly original.  Cosmetically in good shape too. Interesting.

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Also looks like it was updated with f-series flash sync from the look of the speed dial

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And the lens too is worth a look : a Summicron collapsible with (apparently) a front glass in good shape : not a rare item, but a lens of top quality and a legend by itself.

the flash sync is of the "IIIf" style : not so frequent to see a black body of this kind (even if "upgraded" as it looks to be) ; just  a detail : the speed times on the top dial are 1/60 1/40 etc... or 1/75 1/50... ? 

Edited by luigi bertolotti

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16 hours ago, jaapv said:

From the number it should be a chrome III, about 1933, but it is obviously a black paint one, looking fairly original.  Cosmetically in good shape too. Interesting.

You are correct Jaap, this camera is from the first chrome batch of IIIs. If it were originally chrome it would have probably been bright chrome such as my example from that batch below.

This looks like it is new instead of being 87 years old as the bright chrome is very hard wearing and maintains its appearance. For some reason, which has not been recorded, as far as I know, Leica dropped the bright chrome for satin chrome which does not wear as well. I suspect that as well as being hard wearing the bright chrome would be difficult to remove. The black camera in the photo above has nickel 'furniture' which must be from its original manufacture and I suspect, therefore, that this camera has been black all along. I have had a discussion before with Jim Lager about chrome items from that period (eg chrome 5cm Hektors) which appear in nickel batches and vice versa and he confirmed that such exceptions do exist. 

The 'upgrade work', almost certainly to 'Black Dial f' , although it should really be called 'White Dial ', involved the use of chrome parts for the speed/sync dials and the rewind lever. By the time those parts were made manufacture of nickel parts was a thing of the past. The chrome collapsible Summicron (a great lens) is probably from 1956.

William

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Two remarks : it cannot be a "painted" chrome, the photo showing clearly the original copper material at "used" angles; and if what Luigi says about the relative rarity of black III or IIIa transformed as IIIf is true, I had these rarities in my collection (see photo of nº126238 and 168218 with 1/40 etc speeds sequence).

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4 minutes ago, Pecole said:

Two remarks : it cannot be a "painted" chrome, the photo showing clearly the original copper material at "used" angles; and if what Luigi says about the relative rarity of black III or IIIa transformed as IIIf is true, I had these rarities in my collection (see photo of nº126238 and 168218 with 1/40 etc speeds sequence).

Looking more carefully in my collection's archives, I found better photos of my black transformed III and IIIa to IIf/IIIf, where the engravings "DBP-GMBH" and speeds sequences appear clearly.

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I did not expect this much back in one night! Thanks and I really appreciate all the comments. It's actually really interesting seeing what you all make of it.

The camera will be going up for auction next week via Dawsons Auctions, below is a link to the camera.

https://www.dawsonsauctions.co.uk/auction/lot/390-a-1934-leica-dbp-ernst-leitz-gmbh-wetzlar/?lot=33050&so=0&st=leica&sto=0&au=72&ef=&et=&ic=False&sd=0&pp=48&pn=1&g=1

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One must assume that the chrome VIDOM can be removed. It is normal at auction to show at least one clear view of the serial number. The shoe looks it is a brass or copper re-make of some kind. The silver tin holding the FILCA cassettes is probably not a Leica/Leitz item. I have seen red boxes with compartments and cardboard tubes for FILCAs, but never a silver tin like this one. Maybe someone else would like to comment on this. If it is, indeed, a Leitz item it is very rare.

William

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Commenting the camera..... was produced black paint, if it is listed as chrome than it is a mistake in the list. Look at R A and arrows, they are filled with Bismuth. Accessory shoe is original black, but the paint very worn, not unusual with conversions. Conversation to Iiia sync from 1954 or later (capital letters and additional screw on 11 position of contact numbers) 

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21 hours ago, Pecole said:

Two remarks : it cannot be a "painted" chrome, the photo showing clearly the original copper material at "used" angles; and if what Luigi says about the relative rarity of black III or IIIa transformed as IIIf is true, I had these rarities in my collection (see photo of nº126238 and 168218 with 1/40 etc speeds sequence).

That is not quite true in general. For a proper repaint the chrome should be stripped off. Not that I dispute the originality of the paint on this particular camera.

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21 hours ago, MrSWphoto said:

I did not expect this much back in one night! Thanks and I really appreciate all the comments. It's actually really interesting seeing what you all make of it.

The camera will be going up for auction next week via Dawsons Auctions, below is a link to the camera.

https://www.dawsonsauctions.co.uk/auction/lot/390-a-1934-leica-dbp-ernst-leitz-gmbh-wetzlar/?lot=33050&so=0&st=leica&sto=0&au=72&ef=&et=&ic=False&sd=0&pp=48&pn=1&g=1

It might have been better off at an auction that specializes in Leica cameras and photographica like Westlicht.

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14 hours ago, jerzy said:

Commenting the camera..... was produced black paint, if it is listed as chrome than it is a mistake in the list. 

The list I have shows the batch to be chrome, but, however, as we both know, Jerzy, exceptions often prove to be the rule when it comes to old Leicas. This camera has been black paint from the beginning and has been altered to 'f status' in the 1950s. Leica lists of serial numbers and batch details should only ever be taken as a general guide. I have seen a lot of 'exceptions' like this one. 

54 minutes ago, jaapv said:

It might have been better off at an auction that specializes in Leica cameras and photographica like Westlicht.

I'm not sure this camera would meet the Westlicht/Leitz auction standard, but there are many other auctions in Europe which could present this camera more professionally. It seems that something has been done to the shoe which is partially hidden by the chrome VIDOM and also the serial number is not visible which would be an essential detail for any well run auction. This is not a hugely valuable outfit, but it should be presented in a way that the market for such items would expect.

William

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Yes this camera would do better (sell for a higher price) in a proper photographic auction, and the seller could have asked this Forum for suggestions, before committing it to that auction house. The terms and conditions of the auction company state they do not pack and ship sold items. That restricts the number of bidders to those who are local (for pickup), or are comfortable to pay an unknown shipping company for their services - which in this case could cost half the price of the camera. Nice old and upgraded camera, collectible for many of us, but unfortunately it is not likely we would chase it at that auction.

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