Leica M for £1.1m in charity auction
The Leica M designed by Sir Jonathan Ive and Marc Newsome has gone under the hammer for £1,125,000, narrowly beating the pair's red Mac Pro. Although I have to say I actually prefer the classic original Leica design, the enormous sale price says as much for Leica as it does for the designers. Leicas have been collectibles since the early days and there is no shortage of buyers eager to get on the bandwagon.
Even run-of-the-mill Leicas, such as a 1950s IIIg or M3 can still fetch upwards of £1,000 in mint condition. And early digitals, counter to received wisdom, are still selling at prices that defy logic. The ten-year-old Digilux 2, still a superb camera despite its small 5.5MP sensor, will fetch up to £650 and early M8s from 2007 or 2008 are changing hands for £1,200 to£1,400 depending on condition. To the outsider, with his new Sony, Fuji or Nikon, these astronomic prices for out-dated technology make no sense. Yet I believe that current Leica digitals will still command good prices in years to come after they have been far outclassed in terms of technology. Like a 60-year-old M3, they will still take good pictures. And there will always be collectors looking for a simple, pure photographic experience without too many bells and whistles.
None of this has direct relevance to the Ive/Newsome design which is clearly an extreme example, a fusion of Apple and Leica. It is certainly not a typical Leica special edition. But I think the high price does owe much to the Leica brand and the anticipation that even this fabulously expensive camera could be an investment.