Leica IIIg No. 156

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by christopher_a._junker|1, May 6, 2020.

  1. Many years ago I was given Leica IIIg serial number 825156 along with it's Leicavit winder and have used it from time to time. Until recently I was unaware that it was from the very first IIIg production block and if the numbers are correct, it is the 156th IIIg. Although not abused or beaten up, it shows that it was used extensively over the years. I rate its condition as average to good. and enjoy using it, but can't help but wonder if being very early in IIIg production, it should be treated as a collector item rather than an occasional user. The base plate is pristine as it appears the Leicavit was almost a permanent attachment. The original owner was a longtime professional motor sports photographer for R & T magazine and family friend which is why I intend to keep the camera. Thoughts?
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Had a response from a skilled craftsman - we were talking about getting some custom work done. I had both an antique and a modern version of the device and intended to send the new one. He laughed - "So you're saving the good one for someone else to use when you die?"
    I would treat it with care, maintain it and enjoy using it! Life is short and there are simple pleasures to enjoy along the way.
  3. Point well made Sandy. The first owner, Alex Lafontant, was the east coast photographer for Road & Track magazine from the late 1940s well into the 1960s. He started with a IIIc, then a IIIf that he traded in on the IIIg. The 50 Elmar f3.5 that came on it is now being CLA'd so the vintage Summicron Ver.1 will go on it for some use. The last time it was in use for racing photography, I was shooting 4 H pig racing at a county fair.
  4. Off hand I don't know why an older IIIG would be more valuable than a later one, since I think (?) there were no changes to IIIGs over their production (unlike the M3, for example). I would have thought the most important characteristic is its condition, irrespective of age.
  5. I don't pretend to understand the prices paid for some serial numbers by serious collectors, but I suspect there woudn't be a premium for the batch unless you had a very low or otherwise significant number. The Leicavit may roughly double the value of your kit, and if you happen to have the rare case that was made for the IIIg with the winder mounted it might be worth more than the camera.
  6. The 3g has a lot of memories for me. It’s the camera I used on my first around the world trip in 1971. Bought it for $125 with f/3.5 Elmar. Back then the LTM camera’s were quite reasonable. Several years later I traded it for some M gear, big mistake. It cost a lot more to replace many years later when I had a nostalgia attack. I also used a 3f beater when conditions warranted, like at sea when worried about corrosion.

    I used to enjoy wandering off the beaten path, often down back alleys in the wrong part of town and didn’t want to carry gear that looked too expensive. In the crazy world of today the 3g would be worth more than a consumer DSLR.
  7. Collectors need two questions answered - (1) What is the condition? and (2) How rare is it?

    Your IIIg is already a "user" and pretty much anyone who would want one could find one for sale (but yours has the Leicavit, which is reasonably rare). And the older is gets the rarer it will become.

    Putting it away won't make the user marks disappear, so I'd simply keep using it.

    Use it with care and it'll likely never be worth less than what it is now.
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  8. For me who is left eye/handed, the Leicavit is essential so it will stay on the IIIg as I put it back to use. I recommend it for anyone using a late LTM body that is left eye dominant. Thanks everyone for your comments.

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