Jan 20, 2021  By Richard Rejino

A wide range of decorative materials for camera store window displays has been produced for Leica cameras, lenses and accessories over the decades. Unfortunately, not many of the displays from the early period have survived, as sensitive materials such as paper mache, foil, fabrics and also wood were used, and dealers often threw discarded material away at a time when there was no collectors’ market at all. Today, these displays are particularly sought after, as they increase the attractiveness of any exhibition in showcases in private collections when they are decorated with the camera models from that time.

This stand for four Leica models dates from 1958. The construction consists of four panels for the cameras, painted in different pastel colors, mounted on a large metal bracket on a black wooden base plate with rubber feet. The labels attached to the panels are labeled with the names of the individual camera models and lenses.

When I found this display in the basement of the property of a customer and a very long-time collector, I felt a kind of pity that such a piece of jewelry had obviously only been stored for decades and was nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, buying such an exhibit from a collection is quite a task. A particular challenge, however, was the careful dismantling and very careful packaging of all individual parts on site for shipment to Wetzlar. The storage location did not allow travel by car and so only air freight was considered.

One of the (pre) last tasks was to find the four matching Leica camera models from the same year of construction as the one in which the display was made – and to find them in the most beautiful original condition possible. The display now presents itself beautifully, like a window dressing at a Leica dealer in the late 1950s, and almost smiles at me as the viewer of our current auction catalog. During more than 35 years of daily dealing with the history of the Leica camera

and the Leica system, I have not come across any other specimen of this version. I am sure that the future owner has the appropriate space to effectively stage this piece. It would be my wish to finally document this and to present the display to the previous owner in its new environment.

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 pianist, writer and published author. His book, "What Music Means to Me" is available from Hal Leonard Corporation.

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