Photo courtesy of Associated Press.
By Nick Smirniotopoulos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a camera must be worth a lot — $2.19 million (1.68 million euros), that is, to the highest bidder in Austria.
The camera in question, the Leica 3md, was manufactured in 1955 and there were only four ever made. But the camera’s rarity wasn’t the only thing allowing the auction in Austria to set the world record for the most expensive camera ever purchased.
The camera sold belonged to David Douglas Duncan, the 96-year-old former photographer of LIFE Magazine. Duncan was a close friend of Pablo Picasso and used the historic camera to get candid photos of Picasso and his notorious art, which is rumored to be the main reason for such an absurd purchase.
The camera was held at the Westlicht photo gallery in Austria on display until it was auctioned off yesterday. The second highest bid was only $1.3 million (1.06 million euros), meaning the winning bid crushed the competition by almost $1 million.
This incidence just goes to show the lengths that some people will go to in order to get a piece of history or an artifact linked to a famous person. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket sold for $1.8 million after being estimated at only $200,000; even Lady Gaga was able to autograph a urinal and sell it for almost half a million dollars.
Is this a symbol that the world is full of celebrity fanatics? Or is this merely a case of historic preservation, a lone patron hoping to be part of history? Only he knows.