The Leica 1 was given to Earhart by her husband, George P Putnam, and dates to 1929. It is one of 120 lots from the collection of photographer and collector Ian Macdonald from East Ayrshire.
“The story behind this camera is fascinating and of all the ones I own it definitely evokes the most emotion as it’s been in my family for so long,” Ian said.
Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, gave it to the vendor’s grandfather, Wullie Macdonald. Wullie worked for a cleaning company and in 1933, when calling on Putnam and Earhart to collect their laundry, he commented on the Leica. Earhart had recently taken the camera on a trip to Chicago but preferred a different model. She gave it to him along with a signed card.
Four year later, Earhart would disappear during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in her Lockheed Electra aircraft.
It is offered with a lens cap, range finder, two reloadable film cassettes and holder all contained in a leather case. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000.
A wide selection
The sale carries an overall estimate £400,000.
“The strength of this wonderful collection is the sheer volume of Leica cameras, including unusual models that will be on sale,” says Victoria Irvine, head of silver, ceramics, clocks and works of art at McTears. “What makes this auction really stand out is the condition of the lots, with many of the cameras in outstanding working condition for their age.”
Among the other models on offer are a rare 1962 Black Paint Leica M3, estimated at £9000-12,000 and a US Army Leica KS15-4 set estimated at £4000-6000.
“My grandfather began the collection, then my father continued it until it was eventually passed down to me,” Ian adds. “Over the years I’ve added to it but I feel now is the right time to sell and allow others to get enjoyment from these great cameras.”
The auction takes place on March 24.