Is it a real Luftwaffe Leica?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by maciek_stankiewicz, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. My friend asked me to post this question here, for Leica experts...
    So, is it real one in great condition? What would be the value of such a camera?
    Please ask questions, investigate the pictures, serial number, and let me know what do You think.
  2. Most important...
  3. I cannot tell you if the Luftwaffe used it but: It is a Leica F, also known as a Leica III. The last listed SN for this model is listed as 343100, made in 1939. Source: "Leica Illustrated Guide", Jim Lager, 1975.
  4. Genuine Leica III. External condition pretty good.
  5. I believe the actual Luftwaffe models were grey metal and were inscribed on the back edge of the top cover. "Luftwaffen-Eigentum" or something like that.
  6. I think I have read somwhere that there are also chrome-plated WWII army and Luftwaffe Leicas. They changed to greyish paint when chrome became scarce in Germany.
    Also, I think a real Luftwaffe Leica should have additional engravings on the back.
    It would be very helpful to contact the Leica archive in Solms, they have very detailed registers of serial numbers and their relationship to special orders.
  8. Do read the Cameraquest article. Importantly, many of the Luftwaffe Leicas were defaced. Gandy writes that a good engraver can engrave the right things to create a fake Luftwaffe Leica. Suggest you take this camera to an expect.
  9. At first glance I'd say it's the real deal,
    But you should try contacting Tom Eitnier or Jim Lager. They can dig up a wealth of details based on the serial number alone.
  10. Notice the serial number and FL# on the camera pictured by the OP, and the serial # and FL # on the camera (IIIC) pictured in the Cameraquest sight linked. One # off. I find it difficult to think these two cameras were sequencial deliveries, as being two different types. My bet is the OP's is a fake (real Leica, fake Luftwaffe), as Leica verified the other.
  11. Thanks for the response!
    Interesting is a Fl # (someone called it "contract number"). Most cameras that I found got Fl# 38079.
    Here is article about some details, markings and Fl numbers:
    Any comments on on-vulcanite stamp versus engraving?
  12. Michael is correct, fake Luftwaffe.
    The correct "military contract" number 38079, shouldn't be different.
    Some have speculated that "Fl. No 38079" or "Fl. No 38078" are military store numbers.
    I believe fake'r didn't know about this contract number; he instead thought it was another type of serial number. Easy to change one digit over to 38078 just in case. (38080 may have been too obvious if he was wrong)
  13. A short google survey revealed this link
    which shows clearly that there are several different FL numbers to be found on airforce Leicas.
    However, you can remove all doubts by asking the Leica archive in Solms. Since the airforce bought most, if not all, cameras directly from Leitz, they should have information about the original buyer of a camera with a given s/n.
  14. In this thread, a contributor notes that Jim Lager's book states that 38078 is 'also possible':
    ...and if '38078' is fake, then it's fooling major dealers and auction houses!:
    Someone has compiled a list of relevant books here:
  15. Its a Lecia, I don't know about the rest or how much its worth.
  16. Congratulations! Your Leica III seems to be completely genuine according to the information I have. Only a handful of Leica III's were produced by Leitz and yours falls within shipment # 4806 with serial numbers in the range of:
    These were delivered to the Luftwaffe on 3 Nov 39. Also the Flieger number of 38078 is consistent with this camera.

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