A Visual Profile on Leica M6 Platinum-plated Special Edition rangefinder camera model -MIR Image Library

 

During the early days, LEICA M6 had gone through a few rounds of refinements as well as some minor cosmetic changes to improve its overall camera handling and reliability. By 1985/6, everyone in the industry had acknowledged the Leica rangefinder system has a great new camera body with the M6, sales had picked up and simply using sales figures as a basis of comparison, it had sold more than 6 times from its original year of debut. In 1988, Leica Historical Society of America (LHSA) had, in conjunction with Leica AG, released FIRST of the special edition of M6 series to commemorate founding of their society (M6 1968~1988). A year later, Leica in their own initiative had followed up with a truly stunning release of a limited edition Platinum finish LEICA M6 camera body with a matching Platinum-plated Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm standard lens. The theme of the release was meaningful. It was to mark the 150 years of photography as well as commemorating 75 years of Leica involvement in the photography. The immensely well received and in some ways, commercially hugely successful debut of this limited edition Leica special edition had inspired Leica AG with an eye for a viable business extension for M6 in the years that followed which is used to supplement regular production M6 models.

LEICA M6 Platinum plated Finish 150 Jahre Photographie/75 Jahre Leica Photographie Limited Edition model
Special Edition 150 years photography and 75 years Leica photography Leica M6 Platinum in Karung leather w/matching Platinum-finish Summilux-M 1.4/50mm, 1989.

There were instances Leica of special editions of LEICA rangefinder M-models that carried similar objectives in their releases but the LEICA M6 Platinum-finish edition can be considered as the first Leica M6-series that was offered in a truly luxurious outfit. Some examples of the previous Leica attempts had different configurations but mostly were being produced in smaller quantity, Olive-paint (e.g. Leica M3 Olive(1959) or Gold plated finishing (examples, Leica M3 Gold (1956) etc. There were two instances where M-special releases were being made in large quantity i.e. regular production Leica M4/M5 bodies with imprint of a 70th/75th Jahre emblem (some examples shown below); among the special releases of M-models which has a comparing luxurious dressing was probably best represented by the LEICA M4-2 Oskar Barnack 100th year 1879~1979 Gold edition in 1979, which has a total quantity of 1,000 units in the edition.

Leica M4/MpP 50 Jahre model Leica M4/M4-P 50 1913~1983 Jahre model Leica M5 50 Jahre model link
Official commemorating bodies officially being released in the form of mass produce usually only had simple engravings such as the LEICA M4/M4-P 50 Jahre WETZLAR engraved models or the most popular series among all the M-models, LEICA M5 and M4-P 1913~1983 70 Jahre/years anniversary models introduced in 1975. By the way, "Jahre" a German word, simply means years, in English).
       
The certificate of authentication that accompanied with each LEICA M6 Platinum Special Edition model states " ... On the occasion of the 150th birthday of photography and the 75th birthday of Leica Photography, we are pleased to present a limited anniversary edition of the LEICA M6 in a luxury version with platinum coating, karung leather and special engraving. The special number of this camera is ..."

LEICA M6 Platinum Finish 150 Jahre Photographie/75 Jahre Leica Photographie logo
Anyway, this LEICA M6 Platinum for 150 Jahre Photographie/75 Jahre Leica Photographie Limited Edition body/lens combination can be considered as the fore running M6-model that had started by experimenting by using alternate new material for special issue of LEICA rangefinder camera models. NOTE: The M4-2 Gold edition in 1979 also has used a very unique but unidentified leather work on the camera body in black.

Elegantly presentable as well as projecting a quality feel that is hard to match by oriental labels, the use of precious metal in the M6 Platinum delivers a totally new presentation as well as enhancing its overall collectible status. One way or another, the M6 Platinum can be a good way to exhibit top quality German mechanical engineering for those who had never used or seen a LEICA camera before. It did helped in a way in generating a new wave of collectible interest for modern LEICA products from here on.



Series of old, previous Leica logo
Series of old, previous Leitz optic logo

Engraving of 150 JAHRE PHOTOGRAPHIE 1989 75 JAHRE LEICA PHOTOGRAPHIE
Doubting what I have said ? You shouldn't be as I was one good happy "victim" among the new generation of consumers who had been lead to take a serious look at LEICA system via this attractive LEICA M6 Platinum package where all my previous years of interest was mostly centered on oriental labels. My first LEICA RF was a Colombo '92 which was after a 'failed' attempt to acquire a Leica M6 Platinum Edition. It was originally my primary choice as my first Leica RF and probably the episode clearly reflects the level of charm of this M6 Platinum to Leica newbie like me. Even after all these years, I am still having some form of regret in the deep corner of my mind for not be able to get the M6 Platinum and a very few camera can cast such a sentiment in me.

One way or another, time has proven my original decision was not entirely wrong. Despite the camera was issued as one of the largest production quantity among all LEICA Special Edition, the collectible value has been appreciating slow but steadily over the years. I guess serious collectors would know how to identify various embedded good elements within the LEICA M6 Platinum Edition as a truly collectible Leica.

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Oulining its external features as well as other issues that relate

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | LEICA M6 Platinum DUMMY

Other related LEICA M6 camera models issued in the same Platinum Finishing:-

Leica M6 Platinum Dummy Set
, 1989 | Leica M6 PLATINUM '150/75 Jahre', 1989
Leica
M6 Platinum Sultan of Brunei Silver Jubilee Edition, 1992 | Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei Special 50th Birthday Edition, Platinum w/diamond, 1995
Leica M6 "Anton Bruckner" (1824~1996) Platinum Edition, 1996 | Leica M6 Schmidt Platinum Centenary (100 Years), 1996
Leica M6 Platinum Henri Cartier Bresson / Louis Vuitton One unit Special Edition, 1998
Leica M6 Platinum "150 jahre Optik" Wetzlar Optisches Institute Edition, 1999
Main Index Page - Leica M6-series models / Main Index Page - Leica-M Rangefinder camera Models

Nomenclature / Main Reference Map for Leica M6 Standard Model(s) applicable to this M6 Platinum Edition | Others:- Leica M6 TTL Model(s)
Instruction Manuals:-
Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) applicable to this M6 Platinum Edition by Niels H. S. Nielsen; Others:- Leica M6 TTL 3.6 Mb PDF) by Joe Chan

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