Leica M3 GOLD, 1956


Although Leica had already started offering gold plated as early as in 1930 with the "Leica Camera Deluxe" or LUXUS range of distinguished looking gold plate body in different colored skin. But overall, rangefinder Leica in gold finishing are not too common either. One of the more popularly seen model in Gold finishing was the 1979/1980 Leica M4-2 special Gold edition to commemorate 100th birthday of the late Oskar Barnack.
The Leica M4-2 Gold which was based on a 24 carat gold-plated M4-2 body, supplied along with a matching gold-plated Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 lens as well as a gold plated lens cap. During the Leica M6 product cycle we had witnessed a few alternate choices of precious metal such as Titanium, Platinum being used on a few selective M6 Limited Edition models but the there were two known version that truly reverted back to gold plated on the M6 was the Sultan of Brunei Silver Jubilee Gold 350 units edition in 1992 as well as another 1996's 700 units Leica M6 special 24 carat gold plated edition* model to commemorate the 50th Golden Jubilee Celebration year on the reign of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand. By the way, Thai King himself is a keen photographer and wherever he travels, always had a camera along on his shoulder.

Whatever it is, unless there are other models that I have missed out - i.e. from
Oskar Barnack M4-2 Gold to Thai King Gold Edition, seemingly gold plated Leica were confined to these two special edition only UNTIL - Leicashop® unveiled one of their star auction item in a recent auction with the distinctive looking Leica M3 Gold Edition which is showcased in this visual library of Leica M-cameras here.

Update: Leica M3-1000001 was presented as a chrome camera to Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1960. In 1989, Leica Camera Company equipped the camera with new gold plated parts, honoring Eisenstaedts lifelong contribution to photojournalism. The chrome parts of the 1960 presentation camera were not destroyed, but set back together as a dummy model and given back to Eisenstaedt together with the gold camera - LARS NETOPIL

An extremely rare Leica M3 Gold Special Edition Model, 1956 with gold plated collapsible Summicron 2/5cm, a rare and highly collectible Leica M model by  auctioned by LeicaShop

Leica M3 GOLD. Approx. Year: 1956

" ...One of only two
** known M3 cameras originally gold plated by Leitz with gold plated collapsible Summicron 2/5cm no.1379604, gold plated cap, gold plated Leica Meter MC no.51310. According to delivery records the camera was shipped to Ernst Leitz New York on July 28th,1956 (copies of the Leitz delivery records are included). The camera is illustrated in colour by James L. Lager vol. 1 p.156 (".M3 Gold S/N 834000 ..it represents one of the most spectacular assemblages encountered by the author in over 25 years of research"). The camera is offered for the first time. It is in working order with clean finder, some small scratches on the top plate and some more signs of use on base plate. (The second gold plated M3 (no.873000) was offered at Christie's Auction last year with an estimate of Euro 110000-150000)..." - Peter Coeln, Leicahop® -

Just for cross reference: This extremely rare and stunning Leica M3 Gold Edition has a Leicashop® conducted auction Start Price of EURO 30,000-00 and a hammer price of EURO 51,600-00 ! *

* NOTE;- Indicative price here in this site were based original prices published on previous auction literature/references.
Prices may vary according to gradual yearly premium, supply/demand equations, and/or other renewed valuation methods.

Different leatherwork of Dennis Laney M3 Gold
** My favorite reference source, Dennis Laney's LEICA Collectors Guide full color central spread section has shown another Leica M3 in gold but it has a grayish lizard leather work on both camera leatherette as well as portion of the lens tube. Dennis quoted these as supplementary info for the M3 Gold gray Lizard Skinned model w/ S/N M3 873000 " ...NOT all gold Leica are official limited edition series. The gold Leica M3 shown is said to have belonged to the Toranty family, Leitz distributor in France. It was not the unit that was given to Phillippe Tiranty by Leitz in 1957...it came with a matched gold plated 5cm/2 Summicron and front lens cap..". A small section of the original photo published at the left was just to show the very much different grayish leather work used on the M3 gold featured in Dennis Laney's book.

Leica M3 Gold with gold plated collapsible Summicron 2/5cm, gold plated cap, gold plated Leica Meter MC

Credit: Images of this rare Leica M3 Gold Edition courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a hugely popular Westlicht Auction House. Image(s) Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Top camera plate section on the Leica M3 Gold , 1956
Rear section of the film back and film reminder disc in GOLD
Base plate of the Leica M3 Gold

Close up view on rangefinder on the Leica M3 Gold
Gold plated film rewind knob on the Leica M3 Gold, 1956
Leica M3 Gold Serial Number
Lens mount section (interior)

Matching gold plated lens cap on the Leica M3 Gold special Edition modelSide view of the 24 carat gold plated Leica MC meter A.G. Nornberg
Gold plated MC meter (LEICA)

| Two video presentations showing LEICA M3 GOLD at Youtube |

Relative: Sultan of Brunei Silver Jubilee Gold 350 units 1992 edition; His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej Golden Jubilee Edition in 1996

Gold cameras (SLRs) outfit
Nikon F Gold outfit | Canon F1 GOLD | Nikon F2 GOLD | Nikon FM GOLD | Nikon FA Limited Edition GOLD
Pentax LX Limited Edition GOLD | Olympus OM2N Limited Edition GOLD | Leica M3 Gold | Leica M4-2 Gold & others refer to the Main Index Page

| Leica M3 Index Page | M3 Nomenclature |

Visual Library on Leica M3 Prototype, 1952; Leica M3 Test model, 1953/4 | A photo showcase on early series of Leica M3 DS bodies:- Leica M3-700131 / M3-700170 / M3-700000/M3-70031x/M3-70051x | M3 double stroke chrome 1954~1957 bodies:- Part 1/Part 2/Part 3/Part 4; Leica M3 Single Stroke 1957~60/1961~66 | Leica M3 Black Paint:-1955/1958/1962~1964/66 / Case study on Prices | Leica M3 ELC, 1955/56

Other Leica M3 Variants:- Leica M3 chrome Leica-Technik 57 1954; Leica M3 GOLD Edition, 1956 | Leica M3 DS United Nation Edition, 1957 | Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum outfit 1957/ Olive Green Bundeseigentum outfit, 1959 (2 Parts) w/info on high quality M3 Olive Conversion | Leica M3 Betriebskamera/ Betriebsk 1960 | Leica M3 Royal Dutch Marine Periscope Model, 1966 | Leica M3 Dummies / Riesen-Mode (Giant scale Model); Leica M3 Cutaway Display Unit , 1954

Recommended External Link: Leica FAQ | Leica M3 Instruction Manual 1) Location 1 (1.35mb PDF) by Joe Chan; Location 2 (1.2mb PDF) by M.Butkus < Mike@bukus.org>; Leica FAQ | Serial Number Ref. (Cameraquest): LSM lenses 1923/1965 | Leica M 1954/1999/Leica M/R-mount RF/SLRs Serial Number ; Leica M-lens coding PDF (84k) download (Leica, AG); Leica Camera/Leitz Lenses S/N check (requires registration) at Owners Support@LEICA camera, AG

LEICA MP-Specific models/variants - Visual Profiles on selective Leica bodies:- Leica MP Prototype, 1955 | MP Betriebsk w/Electric Motor, 1956 | Leica MP-88/MP-150 Black paint, 1957 | Leica MP-167; Leica MP-171/MP-313/old/new Leicavit visual, 1957 | Leica MP 367 & 368 Dual, 1957 | Leica MP-375, MP-368 & MP-386 | Leica MP 'Edition Hermès', 2003 | Leica MP Betriebsk 0.72x | Evential production model MP 0.72x Black paint, 2002 | Leica MP classic Kit Set 1 / Set 2 | Leica MP chrome 0.58X(2 parts) | Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.58x | Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.72x Standard | Leica MP 0.85x Finder Mag. model | Leica MP Anthracite* Limited Edition Set | Leica MP LHSA 1968~2003 Special Edition Grey Hammertone Finish (3 parts) | Brief Introduction on Leica à la carte:- Leica MP Red Leather 0.85 / Nappa racing Green Leather 0.58X | Others:- Visual case study on counterfeit LEICA MP ; Leica MP Prototype w/Prototype Leicavit-M; Leica MP-3 LHSA; Leica MP TITAN, 2007

| Leica MP Nomenclature | Leica MP Instruction manual (1MB PDF) | Technical Specification (96k PDF) |

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Credit: Images courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image(s) copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.