View Full Version : Ever wonder about your Leica M pedigree?

dave lackey
01-12-2012, 14:17
When we were born in time, a camera was meant to be manufactured by Leica, sold to someone and eventually wind up in our hands. I know where my M3 came from when I bought it but how many folks know the owners along the way?

Is it even possible to string a pedigree together?:)

01-12-2012, 14:28
I'm very happy to know about one of mine, which involved some guesswork and assumptions, but adds to it's value - for me anyway!

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6173/6222706180_b78987c76b_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6222706180/) Leica M6 - Graf Baudissin. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6222706180/) by transalper (http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

01-12-2012, 14:35
I never wonder Dave. It doesn't matter to me. It is in my hands and that is all that matters!

01-12-2012, 14:38
I have a Canon P from Joe and an M2 from Gene.

01-12-2012, 14:47
I won a Canon IVSB2 kit on eBay a number of years ago. While the auction was running I developed a relationship with the owner initiated by questions I asked about the camera and lens. He was the original owner who purchased it decades earlier in Japan. When I won he sent me an excited email saying that he was routing for me. When I got the box he included all of his original paperwork and the information from his purchase so many years earlier.

01-12-2012, 14:50
Mine has the name Ales Bravnicar laser'd on top. I didn't buy from him. But of a asian guy here in toronto. Do I know who else had it? no, but then again, It's mine now.

01-12-2012, 15:27
I think the only way to truly know is to buy it new like you mentioned. Other than that it is up to the current owner to figure out that the equipment works for their purposes through maintenance.

To paraphrase one of the contractors on a recent job responding to a comment that one of the subs cut through a framing member in a canopy: " it looks like we cussed up that one. We'll have to find a way to uncuss it." ;)

01-12-2012, 15:39
My first Leica was a good user M3 from Don Chatterton in 1990. I didn't know much about them and it took me a few years to realize it had been very worked over.

802280 started life as a double stroke, old speeds and long strap lugs. What it is now is a single stroke but with the shorter double stoke lever, modern speeds, small strap lugs and a bend by the big finder window which is probably why it has a late model rf unit with the dof notches.

Whatever. I still have it and it works well. It has made many wonderful photos.


Dylan Hope
01-12-2012, 15:45
I've thought about it briefly, what the previous owners may have used it for, but it's not really a pressing concern of mine. I know it's had at least two other owners than myself. To be honest, I'm more interested the history of my lens, since it's my senior by 22-23 years

01-12-2012, 15:47
I know that my second M4-P, which came with original box and papers, was originally purchased in NY. :)

01-12-2012, 16:06
Leica MP ~ I am the original owner bought at Glazer's Camera in Seattle
Leica M9 ~ One previous owner, a member at the GetDPI forum
Leica M6 TTL 0.85 ~ Picked this up at a Glazer's Camera store in Seattle and was told their was one previous owner who traded all of his Leica Cameras and Lens as he was moving to a different system.

I will not have any problems purchasing a camera in the future if the condition is functional and a fair price regardless of its previous owners. Although it is nice knowing who had previously owned the camera.

01-12-2012, 16:07
Hmmm ... do I need to know about all the men that my current partner had relationships with in the past?


01-12-2012, 18:02
Hmmm ... do I need to know about all the men that my current partner had relationships with in the past?


Lol! Well said mate! I don't think i wish to know how my cameras had been handled by their previous owners. The thing that matters most now is the one who is currently enjoying the benefits of owning the camera and making the most out of it!:rolleyes:

01-13-2012, 04:55
I just happen to know the story behind my M2.

It was purchased by a cousin of the person I bought it from. He was a professional photographer in the 1950s, and bought my very early M2 new. When Charlie, the guy I bought it from, went through the USAF academy, it was given to him as a graduation present. That was in 1960.

The camera was used for a spell, and sometime around 1970 it was dropped and assumed not to work any longer. It got closeted, and after Charlie served a full career and retired a lieutenant colonel, he came to a local college. Just about a year and a half ago was hauled out cause Charlie knew someone at work that liked old cameras (me). After playing with it, and, I think, gushing over how cool it was, he gave it to me. I insisted on giving him $100 for it.

I am the third owner, and I sent it off for a full CLA, gave it two new lenses (the original Leica Elmar 50/2.8 collapsible has a fogged front element) and lots of papering, including a brand new Verdigris leather kit from cameraleather.com to replace the cracked and chipping vulcanite.

I'll get a Luigi strap for it someday, possibly along with a new half-case, cause the Leica full case has seen better days. I had it repaired at a shoe shop nearby. It's cumbersome to use, but I love what it says on the inside.

"Cadet Charles T"

01-13-2012, 05:16
The history of my M3 is the reason for me finding this forum. I bought it off eBay about five years ago and happened to ask the vendor whether he knew the history of it. To my surprise he told me that it had been formerly owned by the photographer Val Wilmer. I researched her, finding out she was a well-known photographer of the British music scene in the 1960's and 1970's - including photographing big names such as Dylan and Hendrix - but specialising in jazz musicians.

What I don't know is what she actually used the M3 for, but it's nice to know it has such as luminous past.

I've also found this interesting biog of her:

Val Wilmer is a documentary photographer, best known for her photographs of jazz musicians. Founder member of Format agency. Worked for Spare Rib from 1978-80, member of the Exit group in 1974. Many exhibitions, both group and solo, including Jazz Seen- the Face of Black Music, Victoria and Albert (1973). Group shows include: Young British Photographers, Photographers' Gallery, London (1975); Women by Women, Half Moon Gallery, London (1974); Three Perspectives on Photography, Hayward Gallery, London (1979). Her autobiography is entitled Mama Said there'd be Days Like This, published in 1989.

Valerie Wilmer [VW] further reflects on photographing musicians; on jazz musicians; aspired to the greatness of Eugene Smith but felt she wasn’t up to that standard; never thought of herself as an artist “except when she needed to sell prints for a decent price”; always interested in being part of the action – backstage with musicians, demonstrations about women’s rights, anti-racism or trade union issues. VW comments on using Leica cameras; felt using Leicas was a kind of purist photography; “Nikons and Pentax are rushing around looking up people’s noses cameras”; recalls story about photographing a concert in Islington Town Hall; “photography is about concentration and Leicas demand concentration”; mentions she admired work of Sylvester Jacobs, David Hurn and Tony Rae Jones who also used Leicas; also admired work of Leonard Fried – bought his book ‘Black and White America’ in New York in 1971; also admired Margaret Bourke-White and Eve Arnold whom she interviewed after the publication of ‘The Unretouched Woman’ and they “almost came to blows – pity!”. Mentions she also did work in the 1970s for ‘Time Out’ and ‘Spare Rib’. Remarks on the ‘Visual Group’ meetings organised by Laura Margolis – picture editor at ‘Spare Rib’; thoughts about the links between women’s and socialist politics at the time; overall feeling optimistic at that time.

01-13-2012, 05:24
My M3 - all i know is that it has been around the world - back and forth between the US and austrialia at least 3 times. My M6ttl I bought from the second owner who lives in Vancouver. Found out the original owner lives about 45 minutes south of me in Albany, NY. Small world there.

01-13-2012, 05:54
My M3 was purchased new in Germany in the 60s by my Mom for my grandfather after his IIIf (?) got stolen. I still have the tag from the shop it was purchased in.

Someday I want my daughter to by me a Leica!

j j
01-13-2012, 06:19
Apologies for polluting this thread with non-M/non-rangefinder, but I bought my DSLR secondhand and the EXIF lovingly dedicates every picture I take to the wife of a previous owner. I should change it I guess, but it amuses me.

01-13-2012, 07:24
Apologies for polluting this thread with non-M/non-rangefinder, but I bought my DSLR secondhand and the EXIF lovingly dedicates every picture I take to the wife of a previous owner. I should change it I guess, but it amuses me.

Nice. I wonder if he knows how much you care?

01-13-2012, 07:28
Got my M4 from the son of its first owner, who in his 90 was no longer interested in using the camera. It came with the original sale receipt from 1967 --if memory serves. Nice to know it's being used in the same town where it was sold new so many decades ago.

01-13-2012, 07:38
here is the sum of what I know about my M2:

it was made in 1958 and it's most perfect thing Ive ever owned.

with all of my other cameras combined, there has been one time when I honestly took more pictures than I really intended too. with the Leica, it happens more often than not, which leads me to believe that the person who owned it before me must have used it a whole lot. I doubt KEH releases information about where they got cameras from, although I sure would like to know.

01-13-2012, 07:49
This is about my Leica IIIf RD ST, and not an actual M camera.

I purchased it when the Guernsey auction house was liquidating the Jack Naylor photo collection.

My Leica IIIf RD/ST (with Elmar 50mm f/3.5) was owned by some guy named Leopold Godowsky Jr.

I think he invented Kodachrome, or something like that.

01-13-2012, 07:49
In 2009 I bought a 1949 Leica Iiic in Vancouver BC. I found the original receipt and a business card of the first owner tucked into the pocket of the leather every ready case it came with. All good.. the funny thing was the original owner lived in the same village near Newbury, Berkshire (U.K.) where I grew up! Its a small world.