One of my favorite things about Seattle is the many fantastic garage and estate sales. Many weekends find Theresa and I driving around looking for promising ones. We found a winner on Saturday and made our way in. Imagine my delight when we stumbled across a bookshelf full of old cameras.


I spent several minutes trying to decide if the Richoflex with the sticky shutter was worth the trouble. I quickly passed up the Canon AE-1 with the cracked lens. Then I saw it. In a frayed leather case emblazoned with those legendary letters. Leica.


I peeled back the greasy leather and discovered this beauty. It was grimy and dirty, but I didn't care. I know how well these cameras were built, plus I figured it would be worth the money to get it fixed up if I had to.


About that time the lady running the sale come through and I asked her how much she'd take for it. "Five dollars" she said. I thought I heard her wrong. "FIVE dollars, are you serious?" I asked, incredulous. "Which camera is that?" she inquired. "This is a Leica" I said, cursing my foolish outburst as I did. "Oh yeah, five bucks, no problem" she said.


I asked her a little more about the camera as I was paying and she told me that it had belonged to her father and that he had probably picked it up when he was in Germany in the 40's.


Needless to say, I was giddy the rest of the day. Once we got home, a few minutes with some Q-tips revealed a beautiful camera in perfect working condition. I have my first roll in it, and I can't wait to see what the Elmar 3.5 can do.


NOTE: I looked up the serial number and it appears that this camera was made in 1934. 10,600 of this model were made during this year. The lens appears to have been made in 1939.

Dave Watts, s58y and 30 more people faved this
  • Oliver Hutton 5y

    My guess is that DAG would be in the range of $300 or so, but you also have to do some research on what ones in the condition are going for in full working order. My guess is in the $400-500 range, so you are probably not going to lose money on the deal (depends on the exact model though). I'd give DAG a call, and just see what they say. Explain the condition of the camera as well as you can. They'll hopefully give you some good advice. One note about DAG though, is that sometimes the promptness of their customer service leaves something to be desired, so it may be a bit of a hassle, but well worth it.
  • Elias and Theresa Carlson 5y

    Awesome, thanks for the help Oliver. It is greatly appreciated.
  • Christopher Hall 5y

    That was a super bargain. Envy. You go!
  • Elias and Theresa Carlson 5y

    I know it :) And thanks, once I get it CLA'd I'll be using it a lot.
  • Diana Moss 5y

    WHAT a find! i am looking forward to seeing the results.
  • scott w. h. young 5y

    what a lucky day!
  • Ben Lindstrom 5y

    Great story, great find!
  • Abs 4y

    Nice find! My Leica was also made in '34.
  • Imanol Gabilondo 4y

    I have one!
  • Geoff 4y

    F_ck you
    F_ck you
    F_ck you
    F_ck you
    F_ck you

    I don't feel so guilty about paying $200 for mine now.
  • Elias and Theresa Carlson 4y

    Geoff Ah ha ha ha, yeah, used up all my good luck for the next 7 years on that one :)
  • Betty Suarez 4y

    lucky u!
  • P Furtado 4y

  • Alankaar 4y

    Wow... that's some luck! :)
  • Carsten 3y

    Nice cam!
    I'm waiting to get mine delivered.
  • Chic-KEN 3y

    OMG ... $5 ? you really lucky person.
  • Shawn Colborn 3y

    Geoff Haha. Amazing find!
  • Aaron A 3y

    Incredible story and find! I just picked up a iiif for about 70% of market price; your deal is absolutely unbelievable! So glad you were able to save it from a life of sitting in a box!
  • Alex The Roman 3y

    Incredible story indeed, but these miracle bargains still do happen! :-)
    And I thought I had a good deal with mine!!
    Have you managed to get it fixed eventually? I have one from the exact same lot as yours (135xxx), can you please confirm whether the fastest speed on yours is 500 as well? There are some contrasting info on this batch, some call it Leica IIIA (although the III A had 1000 as fastest speed), others just Leica III..
  • Gregory Heath 18d

    $ 5 !!!! Awesome find..... !! Good for you....that's great
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Taken on June 13, 2010
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