An Unusual Postwar-Leica IIIB

Jun 6, 2016  By Richard Rejino

  by Jerzy Wasowicz

          This article was initially published in VIDOM 110/2015. VIDOM is bi-annually publication of Leica Historica e.V. in Germany

As per Hahne list the last IIIb was SN 355 000 from 1946.  The one presented here has SN 357 109 and is from 1950.

It was December 2004 when I spotted this camera. It raised my attention because of:

  • SN is higher than the last documented
  • Sharkskin covering, which was known to me rather in connection with Ic-IIIc produced from 1948 until early fifties
  • Bottom plate is showing the chrome defects typical for sharkskin Leicas
  • Coated Hektor 5 cm with early SN 96264

After purchasing this Leica I started to collect some information about this camera.

Information received from the seller:

Camera was initially purchased by the father of the seller, Mr Driesen on September 7th, 1950. Mr Driesen was working in optical dept at Leitz developing the optics for various Leica lenses. Hektor is much older than the camera itself and was coated by Mr. Driesen in early fifties. Before the sale, in autumn 2004 the camera was CLA-ed (cleaned, lubricated and adjusted) by the repair specialist in Wetzlar.  CLA included replacement of curtains and half mirror.

Information received from Leica Service:

Camera with SN 357 109 was sold internally (employee sale) on April 5th, 1950 to Mr. Driesen. Camera is marked as LUOOB which is the US code word for Leica IIIa. There is no record about any upgrade to IIIb.


Questions which come to my mind after I compared above, partially different information:

Why is the Leica marked as IIIa in Leica delivery records? Why the discrepancy between purchase dates? Was this Leica initially produced as IIIa and upgraded to IIIb between April and September 1950?

The following content is accessible for members only, please sign in.

Richard Rejino
Richard is the Executive Director of LHSA - The International Leica Society and a part-time professional photographer. He is also a classically trained musician, writer and published author. His book, "What Music Means to Me" is available from Hal Leonard Corporation.

You might also like

1 Comment

This website is lovely and has both vintage and modern attractions. I like it, but it took four tries to get a password that would work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Story
A Lightweight M-System Using the "Crop Factor"   In the good old days of Kodachrome, color photographs were submitted to publishers in the form of slides for best...