A GAMBLE & THEN A PHONE CALL

Oct 7, 2019  By Jim Lager
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During the preparation of my first book I had to choose the front cover illustration. I wanted a Leica that would attract attention. Among the rarest and eye catching were the Leica 250, Compur, IId, 72, MP, and Luxus. I chose the LUXUS. The front cover camera was No. 48401. This was mid 1975 and this serial number was not listed as a LUXUS in documents I consulted. Was this a genuine LUXUS?

After very careful inspection of the camera itself and it’s provenance I “gambled” confident this artifact was genuine. Thankfully, just before my book was printed I received confirmation through Leitz Wetzlar that a small number of LUXUS models were prepared beginning with No. 48401.

Months later my dear friend Roger Pelham from Dayton, Ohio called me and said there was a gold plated Leica for sale in Florida and that several Leica enthusiasts had inspected it but declared it a fake because serial number records did not list it as a LUXUS. My book was still on the press and Roger was unaware of No. 48401 on the cover. I asked Roger the number of the Florida camera. No. 48402 came the answer. I roared into the phone and advised Roger to purchase it immediately. He did and this Leica became a treasured artifact in a prominent Leica collection. It must be emphasized that in 1975 there was very limited research data available. When access to delivery information became possible we found that Leicas No. 48401 and No. 48402 were written LESSALUX shipped to New York on order number 1338 dated October 31, 1930. LESSALUX means camera, three cassettes, colored ETRIN style case, and gold FODIS rangefinder. Catalog 1Kd July 1930 contains this description.

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