The Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei edition had only 350 made.
Right next to his Rolex watch collection, I could totally see rapper Post Malone owning this rare Leica M6. Currently going for $29.995 on eBay, this isn’t your run of the mill Titanium edition. It’s known as the Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei edition. Obviously, that means that it was ordered by a royal family. Ordered in 1992, according to the seller, the cameras are nearly 30 years old and vintage. Some of them are on the market but are very hard to come by. As if the Leica M6 didn’t have enough lust, this special edition boasts some very exotic features.
A Brief Story of the Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei
The Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei camera is gold plated. And this particular camera comes with a 24 Karat Gold plated 50mm f1.4 Summilux lens. The leather is made of red lizard–and I’m not sure exactly what that is. It boasts a unique engraving on the back along with royal emblems. They had body caps, lens cloths, rear lens caps, a wooden box, certificates, etc. The order took a while to complete since 350 of them were purchased. They were given away as gifts in 1996 to special guests at the 50th birthday part of His Majesty Sultan of Brunei. Clearly, they weren’t playing around in celebrating his birthday. The cameras never went on the market officially by Leica. This is what makes the Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei camera even more fascinating. Leica makes special editions of lots of their cameras, but this was a private, custom order. According to the website, MIR, there is also a diamond variant.
The website, Collectiblend, states that the price has gone up a lot. In 2015, you could get an excellent version for a little less than $11,000. But in late 2020, this camera is currently going for $29.995 on eBay from Leica Store Lisse. Leitz Auction also lists it for a high price tag that translates to around $30,000. The hype and popularity around Leica cameras have gone up a lot. There’s a demand for something simpler, which a Leica M camera does for experienced photographers. Couple this with the film revival and celebrities touting film cameras. You get a tactile experience that nothing else gives you.
If you’re like L-Camera-Forum user Limeyness who happens to stumble on one, then count your blessings. Granted, in today’s market, it’s getting tougher to buy and sell these cameras. Economic disparity is growing. If the very affluent will buy them all up. The price will probably go down a bit. Other factors, like import tariffs, can also play a factor.
The Allure of the Leica M6
The Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei is undoubtedly something special. But deep down inside, it’s a standard Leica M6. It’s reliable first and foremost. The Leica M6 is arguably one of the most popular Leica cameras ever made. It’s in high demand on the secondary market. It’s probably only tied with the Leica M4-P. The two aren’t much different except that the Leica M6 has a light meter built into it. But if you don’t give it batteries, it functions exactly like a Leica M4. The Leica M4 isn’t the last fully analog Leica camera, but it’s arguably the most popular. The Leica M-A came after it, and I don’t see many around. The Leica M2 and Leica M3 are also no slouches. The best thing is that all of these cameras are well built and mechanical. So they’re bound to outlive their owners.
More importantly, cameras are becoming almost like a piece of jewelry. Most people don’t need a camera. But instead, they want one. Manufacturers keep trying to push technology to catch up to smartphones but are failing. But companies like Leica have always embraced the luxury market. If you’re not a professional photographer, then you’re probably passionate about the art form. The romantic notion behind it all is lovely. And it will probably help keep photography alive.
All images are from the eBay listing.