LEICA M6 Ausrüstung Benelux Rangefinder Camera Model, 1996
A German word simply explained as "equipment". "Benelux":- is a term which refers to the 3-Nations Economic Zone which
was original formalized back in 1948 - it was something like a economic trading block,
comprised of three countries, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The name
Benelux was deprived from beginning of each country's name. " ... Benelux
arose out of a customs convention signed in 1944, but was not fully established until
1958. The union was established to promote free movement of workers, capital, goods,
and services in the Benelux region. All three countries were also founding members
of what has become the European Union (EU), which has implemented these same reforms.
Benelux was the first entirely free international labor market, but its goal of merging
the fiscal and monetary systems of the three countries was only largely fulfilled
when most EU nations replaced their currencies with the EURO (2002)...".
Ref: Columbia Encyclopedia.
It was not known why there was a special
issue of a LEICA for the Benelux economic zone but most probably it was due to tariffs,
quota and/or regional importing restrictions imposed within the three-Nations during
that period. A typical Leica M6 Benelux chrome camera, would be having engraving
at the top plate of "Leica
Demo Ausrustung Benelux 96" as well
as an old EU emblem The camera was supplied with Summmicron-M 1:2/35mm with front
/ rear caps as well as lens hood 12524 and a soft leather pouch. Together with original
makers box for both camera and lens, camera box contains 2 instructions booklets
(English and French) copy of Leica pass International, a Leica "thank you"
cards written in French and in English, camera strap. Lens box contains warranty
card with serial number attached to it.
"Benelux regional dealers received
70 demonstration cameras engraved on the top-plate with an outline map of the Benelux
countries and the inscription "LEICA DEMO AUSRUSTUNG BENELUX 96", see Laney,
p. 129. This carries the same theme like the LEICA M7 which were distributed across
many countries with LEICA presence with Flag of the Nation kind of approach. But
back in mid '90, the approach was less localized like the M7 demo copies..Ref:- Everard & Company, Savannah,
Georgia via an estate auction sale back in 2005.
Indicative price(s) herein were based original prices published on previous auction
Prices may vary according to gradual yearly premium, supply/demand equations, and/or
other renewed valuation methods.
Credit: All Images of this Leica M6 BENELUX '96
model appeared herein this page courtesy of Everald & Co. Fine Arts
and Antique®, Savannah, Georgia, US,
which auctioned in conjunction with Igavel Auction. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights
Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
|A demo to please the regional dealers couldn't be without
a lens. In this case, the matching lens for each of these LEICA M6 Ausrüstung Benelux Rangefinder Camera Model issued in 1996 has an old time classic
wideangle, SUMMICRON-M 1:2/35mm in silver chrome finish. No special engraving was
present and the lens looks like a standard product copies with usual Leica encoded
S/N printed on the lens data ring.
Someone has asked about the collectible potential for
this series. I guess this could be a sensitive issue and if possibly, I would like
to make any comment. Anyway, although the LEICA Benelux Edition can be regarded as
a localized version and may mean sentimental to those Leica collectors who lived
within the old time Benelux Economic region; but from a third party perspective,
this camera is a good representation of an era prior to formalization of European
Union. In particularly, incorporation of an old EU logo on top plate carries an unique
meaning as well as remembrance of a period occurred in the history for the few involved
countries. Except for the presence of the "demo" word in the inscription
along with the engraved outlines of Benelux zone, it has reasonably good collectible
potential even for collectors who reside in the EU.
|Today, each Leica Test Camera has their individual national
flag printed on as illustrated by the two LEICA M7 early Netherlands and Belgium
demo bodies below; for those who may be having different opinion in the change of
economic landscape in the current EU zone, the Leica Benelux would always serve as
a reminder on a stage of changes during the old days.
NOTE: During the same Year, LEICA had issued a 500 units edition LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion
models for domestic market, the purpose of the said model has the same business objective
as the Benelux-zone models here.