Making cameras look like guns appears to have been quite the fad in bygone days. The 1930s were no exception, with a number of rifle-shaped camera “guns” manufactured by E Leitz (now Leica). A couple of units have popped up for auction and as you might expect, they’re not cheap.
Expensive, right? It gets worse. Live Auctioneers expects the cameras to fetch €150,000 ($215,900) or more, putting them well out of the realms of ownership except for the most cashed-up of collectors.
Why were the cameras made like this in the first place? Live Auctioneers has you covered:
The “Rifle” was inspired by Commander Attilio Gatti, the well-known wildlife photographer in Africa and was developed between 1935 and 1937 by E. Leitz, Inc. New York, before being introduced to the public in July 1938. Various authors differ in their estimates about the actual numbers of “Rifles” produced: while P. H. Hasbroeck assumes that only six units were produced, J. L. Lager concludes that a dozen were made overall.
The company believes up to 14 of the cameras might exist, “spread out today over collections worldwide”. I think that counts as “rare”, don’t you think? And all you need to do is sell your house to become part of the club!