Rare Leica camera fails to set record at Hong Kong auction

Leica Luxus II, made in 1932
Image caption Only four models of the Leica Luxus II were ever made

An extremely rare Leica camera has been sold at auction in Hong Kong for around $620,000 (£380,000, 460,000 euros).

It failed to raise its estimated value of around $1.2m (£750,000, 890,000 euros), falling well short of the current world record price for a camera.

The gold-plated Leica Luxus II, dating from 1932, is one of only four of its kind ever made.

The whereabouts of the other three are unknown.

Its Welsh owner, who died last year, showed it on BBC TV's Antiques Roadshow programme in 2001, when its value was estimated at £5,000 ($8,100, 6,000 euros).

The camera, which bears the serial number 88840, is gold plated and encased in fake lizard skin.

It comes in a crocodile-skin case.

Revolutionised photography

Bonhams auction house, which conducted the sale, said the case had appeared in Leica adverts but was "the first example ever to come to light".

The camera was given to a British enthusiast from Bridport in Wales after World War Two.

He used it for several decades before taking it to be valued on Antiques Roadshow.

Leica cameras first went on sale in 1925. Compact, lightweight and modern-looking, its models became popular compared with the heavier box cameras in circulation at the time, and quickly revolutionised photography.

Last year, a 1923 Leica 0-Series sold at auction in Vienna for 2.16m euros (£1.74m or $2.78m at the time), setting a new world record for a camera.

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