I posted this on another forum, but figured I'd expand my inquiry to you collectors as well:
I know that the general impression is that Leica made black paint M3's outside of the documented batches so I guess my question is, if the number was close to the numbers in the batchs, the odds of it being legit would go up. Or conversely the odds of it being doctored would go up too as a discerning vendor would be aware of that and be more obliged to have the camera painted.
The one I will soon have is numbered 1156467.
The paint is worn in the sense that it's marked up with fine abrasions and scratches in the normal wear spots but not in the sense at full loss.
There is some wear that shows there is brass underneath the paint in spots. The infill on the lettering looks good with some wear to it and age. Off white and not pure as i would expect a recent repaint to be.
The vulcanite has patches of repair and doesn't look to be repainted.
The original condition of it was described as the chrome lens mount ring being a bit off which results in less than stellar focus. The "L" seal looks to be intact as well. I purchased it for about $1200 which is very reasonable even for a repaint minus that damage described.
Hopefully the pics help illuminate this a bit and maybe give some more insight into this.
I don't know. I don't want to get too excited for right now and a reality check would be welcomed but thought it was all very intriguing regardless.
After some more research, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a Shintaro repaint as it's just exceptional looking and has expected wear from some aging.
Follwoing up with the buyer I inquired about it and he said he purchased a few years ago from Setadel. I would guess they would know what they had and wouldn't willingly sell a legit black paint M3 for a low price but who knows.