A Jony Ive and Marc Newson-designed Leica prototype is headed to auction

A rare prototype of a Leica camera crafted by former Apple luminary Jony Ive and famed designer Marc Newson is being sold at auction in June. The device, which is described as being in “B+” condition, has a starting price of €100.000 (around $118,000), and the Leitz Photographica Auction house estimates that it’ll sell for between €200.000 and €250.000 (around $235,000 to $295,000).

The prototype was produced during the development of the one-off Leica M for (RED) camera, which was sold at a charity auction in 2013 for $1.8 million. While the final product’s design shared a lot of similarities with Apple’s “cheesegrater” Mac Pro, this prototype appears to have a smooth reflective finish that looks like an absolute fingerprint magnet.

The prototype, which is described as showing the “final development step” of the design process, is equipped with a Apo-Summicron 2/50 mm ASPH lens. There’s no mention of whether it actually functions as a camera, however. Here’s the full description from Leitz Photographica Auction:

“A beautifully sculptured aluminium body with a matching Apo-Summicron 2/50 mm ASPH. lens — both showing distinctive features both designers are famous for. Only one finished camera has been made and was sold in an auction in 2013 for an amazing $ 1.8 M! The prototype we have the pleasure to offer shows the final development step when the camera took its final shape after hundreds of prototype parts have been made and tried. It is a beautiful piece of design and a very special opportunity for Leica collectors!”

At the time, Leica said “a total of 561 models and nearly 1000 prototype parts” were made during the camera’s design process. The final Leica M for (RED) camera was sold alongside over 40 other items at the auction, which raised around $26 million in total for charity. Newson later joined Apple to work under Ive the following year.

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