It’s a known fact that Leica cameras are by no means cheap, but significant price reductions do occasionally pop up even in the realm of super rare versions. Take for example this “bargain” Leica M2 prototype body that is still up for grabs on ebay for US $19,999.
This Leica M2 prototype actually has a rather interesting history. According to seller westborncam1, this unit bearing a “PL-P 000 001” marking is one of the six (or five; we’ll get to that later) pre-production prototypes. The camera, along with another marked “PL-P 000 002,” were also said to be part of the 100 Years of Leica Auction in May 2014 held by Vienna-based WestLicht Photographica Auction. The hammer price for the two prototypes was US $57,200. With the buyer’s premium added, the winning bidder would have shelled out $70,000.
An email from a certain “Jeff Garms” was also attached with the listing to provide more information about the camera. It says that there were five of these “PL-P” prototypes, used as employee loaners for various purposes (such as employee loaners and company business uses). Later, they were reportedly given to the top managers of Leitz Canada. This prototype was believed to have been given to Walter Bauer.
A quick Google search revealed more information. A catalog confirmed that this camera body was indeed part of the prestigious auction along with a second specimen. The “PL-P” prototypes were built when the M2 Midland cameras began production in Canada in 1958. They also served as test cameras for Leica constructor Heinrich Staubach, who worked for Leitz Canada from 1954 to 1974.
With such a curious back story and $50,000 price slash, this could be a deal for some of you Leica fans out there. Head to this ebay listing to find out more or buy it now while you still can.