Price Set for Leica M3

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: may 2015; revised: oct 2017; readers past month: 1075

A week ago I published a post about replacing m Zeiss Ikon with a Leica M3 camera that I wanted to buy from a friend of mine. She was selling several Leica cameras and lenses that belonged to her husband who died a few years ago. I was assisting her to organize the equipment and to determine the value of each before selling them at a local store. I borrowed the M3 just to try it, but quickly became attached to it and wanted to buy it. Before settling on a price, though, I tested the camera for several days and discovered some problems.

I met with my friend yesterday to show her my written assessment so far of all of her cameras and lens, and to agree on the price for the Leica M3. I showed her the problems I’ve been having with the shutter and told her about the range of cost for getting it cleaned and possibly repaired, if Leica Customer Care discovers more problems. I said it will be at least $200 if it’s just cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted (i.e., CLA). I also told her that the prices for an M3 seem to range from $600 to $800, depending on the condition.

Based on this information, first she suggested a price of $600 — that I may pay over several months — less whatever it costs me to get it cleaned and fixed. Then she suggested that I just pay her $400. I was surprised at such a low price. She misread my face and then she asked if I’d prefer to make it only $300. I told her that she was being too nice.

So, I countered by suggesting a price of $600, less whatever the CLA and repairs cost, but not to exceed $200. So if the Leica services costs only $100, I would pay her $500. But if it costs more than $200, I would pay her a base amount of $400 — no matter how much the repairs cost. She agreed to that and threw in the Leica MC light meter and the leather case.

I think she was being excessively generous to me by agreeing to $600, less repairs. I was very pleased with the deal she made with me. I’ll send the camera to Leica in Wetzlar.

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Although we had agreed yesterday on a price, this morning she sent me a message on WhatsApp saying that she’s changed her mind about the price. She doesn’t want me to pay for the camera. She just wants to give it to me as a present. I was so surprised. I didn’t know how to respond and didn’t for a few hours.

It’s very sweet of her. When I did reply, I challenged her on the idea, but she was set on me not paying her. In case you’re wondering, we’re not romantically involved. We’re just friends, although we have known each other for only about two months. She’s just a nice person.

As I think about this gift and think about the gifts that I have received from others over the course of my life, I think this is one of the nicest and definitely the most expensive gift anyone has ever given me. Actually, about five years ago in a thread started on another site (Rangefinder Forum), started by Rob Biemer, I mused about this. His family was giving him a Leica M2 camera for his birthday. I said how nice it would be to get such a good camera as a gift, and how fortunate he was that anyone would give him such a nice gift.

And now I have one. It’s a gift far better than the ex-wife ever gave me and better than the gifts from all of the girlfriends or the mother. And it’s not even my birthday and she’s not even a girlfriend — nor has she been a friend for long. I’m thrilled to own this camera. It’s going to be wonderful once it’s been cleaned and returned to me.