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Carl Zeiss Herar 1:3.5 f=3.5cm for Leica SM M39 lens 1939 identification


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I found this Carl Zeiss Jena lens for Leica SM (M39) at a flea market. This is what I could find about it:

The Herar should be cheaper opportunity to the Carl Zeiss Biogon. It was originally produced for the Contax mount. The lens was produced around 500-1000 times. The one i found appears to be a prototype/sample for the Leica screw mount M39. It has a connection for the range finder and the aperture can be controlled with the front ring of the lens. It was produced before 1939. 

I hope I got everything right.

My two questions:

Are the infos are all right (age, Version etc.)

and since inform own a Leica with drew Mount I want to sell it. What is the right price? (I only found two offers online both around 3000usd, is it really worth that much?) 

I also read that one was sold at a Auction at Christies in 1992. 

I’m very thankful for any held or answer ✌🏻

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the Forum !

Here we don't make evaluations : you have already a pair of references, and can give a look here https://collectiblend.com/Lenses/All/  ; it's a good site to find historical auction prices.

A Zeiss Jena lens of the '30s is anyway a collectible for which a certain market is always active... evaluation depends a lot on conditions, originality etc... this Leica SM version looks to be rather rare , so definitely interesting.

 

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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Thx for the answer. I don’t want a evaluation or anything. Just want to know the price range. I’m not into Leica. I found this lens for 8€ on a German flea market. The glass is in good condition. I ordered a M39 to Sony E Mount adapter to test the lens in few days with my digital Sony camera.
Just two question, is it realistic to archive a price over 1000€? And should i put it on eBay or collectiblend? 
 

greets from Germany ✌🏻

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Items of this lens for Contax are offered at high prices https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2499334.m570.l1313&_nkw=Zeiss+Herar&_sacat=3323  : for what is worth (not so much... 🙄) , my opinion is that this lens could go beyond the 1K€ tag, if original

But I think that ebay is not the right place for your lens : by one side, it looks rather worn (how is the glass ? clean ? scratched ? dirty ?) , by the other side, it can be the rare version for Leica, with rangefinder coupling (which would be worth to check) ; I think that it deserves to be inspected by some expert... some specialized dealer or specialized auction house (like these : https://www.leitz-auction.com/   https://www.jogeier.com/wetzlar-camera-auctions-auction-1-catalogue-2110000706708  https://www.leicastore-frankfurt.de/auktionen 

Inspection would be useful also to verify the originality of your item : I quickly found this article (Italian, author is trustable) in which is written that maybe this lens was also "faked" by some Eastern Europe artisans (which can be... similar cases do exist... expecially for Zeiss Jena lenses... after WWII, many design, toolings, raw materials etc of Zeiss Jena were seized by USSR Army and followed several tracks...) http://www.marcocavina.com/articoli_fotografici/Pierpaolo_Ghisetti/07/00_pag.htm

(Collectblend, in itself, is not an auction house ; simply a site that collects the results of several specialized auctioneers)

 

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Thanks, 

the Italien article is very interesting. But I think they referred to the Contax lens that was faked not the M39 prototype. I will definitely get in touch with the Leica website that you recommended to get a trustable evaluation. The glass looks clean, no scratches or marks. And yes the lens has the connection for the rangefinder. 
 

The guy who sold the lens had a lot of German war artifacts and books of the same age. 
 

thanks for all the help and time 👍

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Posted (edited)

Good luck, Linus... in this Forum many of us do follow regularly the auctions...  and if in some months we will see "SOLD   Hammer Price  xx.xxx Euros - rare Zeiss Herar 35 in LTM mount" we'll know who is the lucky seller 😄

(such cases do exist... we have had a story of this kind, on a rare Leica body - found by chance and for cheap - not longtime ago).

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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That would be insane. I’m happy that you welcomed me that kind, and helped me with my questions. I will drive to Frankfurt next week to show the lens to experts, thanks for the recommendation.

I attached two pictures of the Mount on the lens. On the second pictures the coupling for the rangefinder is extended. Maybe you could take a look and tell me if it looks like the Leica LTM Mount with rangefinder coupling.

best wishes from Germany ✌🏻

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Apparently, this is a rangefinder actuator Leica-style : to check if it's really well made the only way is to mount it on some LTM body and check looking in the rangefinder window if the double image coincides at the right distances : anyway, it looks a "professional" component, not some odd do-it-yourself job : coupling correctly to the Leica rangefinder cam is a serious task to be performed on a lens not designed for it... it's a matter of < 1/10mm tolerancing...

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Sorry for joining the discussion late:

I read 2641315 as the lenses serial number. According to Thiele's "Fabrikationsbuch Photopotik II Carl Zeiss Jena" this number belongs to a lot of 1000 Herars produced in 1939. The engravings on the front show the typical style of Carl Zeiss Jena from this time. So there are no reasons for doubt about the genuity of the optics. Thiele doesn't mention any  production with M39 LTM, though he also states that the documentary card of the lenses production was lost, so it is possible hat there was a small amount of Herars with LTM coupling made at Jena. The Herar replaced the earlier 1:4.5/3.5cm Orthometar as a "cheaper" version of a 35mm lens. As the expensive Biogon could not be attached to the Leica due to its design of the rear element, Zeiss might have seen some chances to sell the Herar to Leica users, since at this time you only  had the 1:3.5/3.5cm Elmar as a geniune option for the Leica.

Though I have some quibbles about the mount of your lens. The examples shown by Luigi's link to ebay offers in #4 show the bright chrome of contemporary Zeiss lenses. Your example looks more like alloy. This was used by Zeiss in later wartimes and shortly after the war - but also for fakes...  

The mount's engravings show some irregularities: The examples in Luigi's ebay link show "1,5 - 1,3 - 1,15 - 0,9m" on the DOF-scale, here it is "1.5 - 1.2 - 1m".  They also have dots: "1.5" etc, no kommas like on the Contax examples shown in the link. I always look at the engraving style for the "4" on early Zeiss lenses. Typical for Zeiss was the "4" with a curved diagonal line - you see it on the front engravings of your lens. The mount's engraving shows a "4" with straight" diagonal line. This is no proof for a fake since Zeiss was not always consistent with their engraving styles, but it raises some scepticism. It is said that shortly after the war some employees of Zeiss used optical elements from the factory to build their own mounts - mostly in LTM - around them to sell them privately. One may call this a "fake" or a certain way of lens making in home office... The times were rather chaotic. Zeiss officially published warnings about those lenses and stated that they were way below the factory standards. 

A general remark about prices for Zeiss-Contax lenses. They are usually much lower than for Leica lenses of the same time, even though the optics may be called better in many cases.  For some rare items - and the Herar certainly is rare - the demands look high. But are there any buyers who pay them? I don' see them. The "offers" for special Zeiss lenses with high prices seem to stay eternally like stones in your wallet. Collectors of Zeiss lenses who would pay high prices seem to be even more rare than the lenses themselves. 

Edited by UliWer
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Hi thanks for joining the discussion, the lens was now validated by Peter Coeln from Westblick in Vienna. Since I opened a few discussions in different forums I got some more infos, it looks like the LTM mounts were originale Zeiss Herar lenses for Contax, which were put into a different housings made from aluminum. The adaption was mostly not made by Zeiss it self. The versions for LTM Mount are all a bit different. Mine is made of aluminum. The shop from Vienna offered me 900€ for the lens, I’m not sure if I should sell it at this price or if I should put it for an auction. 
 

best wishes 

linus 

Edited by Linus458
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4 hours ago, Linus458 said:

Hi thanks for joining the discussion, the lens was now validated by Peter Coeln from Westblick in Vienna. Since I opened a few discussions in different forums I got some more infos, it looks like the LTM mounts were originale Zeiss Herar lenses for Contax, which were put into a different housings made from aluminum. The adaption was mostly not made by Zeiss it self. The versions for LTM Mount are all a bit different. Mine is made of aluminum. The shop from Vienna offered me 900€ for the lens, I’m not sure if I should sell it at this price or if I should put it for an auction. 
 

best wishes 

linus 

Well if a shop offers 900€ I think they are rather confident that can be sold for 25 to 40% more... 😉 it's their job, at the end...  it's all about your mood about auctioning it... which can be a not straight task... auction houses typically ask you to set a "reserve price" (minimum under which item goes as "unsold") ; the question to pose  to yourself is this, in my opinion :

- I CAN cash in 900 Euro - now

- Some day, COULD happen that I see it auctioned and sold for 3/4 times this value... can I live with this regret ? 😄

( a possible solution : sell it now, don't follow auctions for 2 or 3 years... 😁)

 

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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The body of your lens looks similar to my 35mm Biogon in screw mount (with the wrong depth of field scale). Maybe if Zeiss workmen put them together at home in 1945+ they had to use what parts they could get hold of and not necessarily the correct engraving font templates.

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