A brief introduction on LEICA M6 "Ein Stück Leica", Börsengang 996 units Special Edition for IPO, 1996 - MIR Image Library

LEICA M6 "Ein Stück Leica", Börsengang. 1996

Leica AG, the path to IPO.

Leica Camera AG is a an investment holding Company with subsidiaries which produce high quality photographic equipment for photography, scientific/technical reproduction, as well as observation. Leica Camera forms as one of the core business which includes design and manufacturing 35mm rangefinder / single reflex lens cameras as well as optical lenses. More recently, the Company has also branched itself into manufacturing of digital compact as well a high-end digital rangefinder/SLR cameras. Other less significant businesses involvement include design and manufacturing of projectors, enlargers, and binoculars etc. The Company's Headquarters is currently located in Solms, Germany with production lines for various manufacturing activities in Germany as well as in Portugal. Leica consumable and other technical products are distributed by few primary subsidiaries and/or marketing arms in US, Japan, France, UK market as well as assisted by a distribution network comprised of more than 100 localized dealers and/or agents around the globe. Further, Leica has technical corporation with a few major electronic conglomerate such as Panasonic Co. LTD, Japan for other consumable products such as digital compacts, DV-cameras etc.

Leica had its root from Wetzlar, Germany. It was first started as Wetzlar Optisches Institute back in 1849 by Carl Kellner who began producing small scales production of optical corrected eyepiece, microscopes and other scientific purpose optical instruments. He passed a way in 1955 and Friedrich Belthle took over the Optisches Institute after married his widow. In 1864, Ernst Leitz joined in and inherited the business after Belthle's death in 1869. Ernst Leitz changed the Company as E.Leitz , Wetzlar after took control of the business on his own. It was during Ernst Leitz time that Leica had improved considerably for their products in terms of quality as well as deploying various manufacturing process to improve efficiency. During this period, Leica has truly began to gain a recognizable trade name in the market for quality in optical instruments. His son, Ernst Leitz II took over reign of the Company when Ernst Leitz passed away in 1920. One of the most important milestone for Leica was, during this stage Leica's first portable camera was developed.

Probably the most well known figure in the development of Leica cameras was Oskar Barnack. He was originally working for Zeiss Jena but had decided to join Leitz under invitation of Ernst Leitz in 1911. The idea of a compact camera was originated from the cine camera project that Oskar Barnack was assigned with. He felt the 18x24mm cine film format was too small to deliver satisfactory enlargement and had found a medium of 24x 36mm which would deliver sufficiently fine grain result where the 2:3 proportion format was most ideal for a still camera. The early prototype UR Leica camera body which eventually materialized has only a single shutter speed and it was something like a raw and early compact camera design which uses 35mm motion-picture film. The lens used for the UR Leica was an Elmar lens developed by another optical microscope designer, Max Berek, he who had joined Leitz a year after Oskar Barnack. One of the original picture by the early UR Leica camera was at a scene at the countryside with Leitz family and it was still being kept today.

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In 1925, at Leipzig Spring Fair the photo community had witnessed an early compact Leica cameras for the first time in public. The mobility it offers and the reasonably high picture quality it capable of delivering had the photo community getting excited and it was incredibly well received in particularly among the news and reportage photographers users group. The agility and responsiveness in a compact camera was instrumental in the development of photojournalism during this era and Leica camera was soon embraced by professionals as well as serious photographers around the world for its optical quality as well as responsiveness it offers. Many well-known photographers of the time, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa etc. became faithful Leica users and had indirectly spearheaded its popularity. Slowly, Leica with the threaded mount has developed into a full camera system with further extended capabilities like interchangeability of lenses and other system accessories. During the post war period, Leica was more fortunate than another German label, Carl Zeiss who had most of their production facilities ruined by constant bombardment by Allied forces and hence Leica was recovered faster than Zeiss. To measure its popularity, by 1951, Leica serial production for its camera has hit one millionth mark. In 1954, at the Cologne Photokina, Leica introduced the first M-bayonet mount camera with the LEICA M3 to replace the threaded mount system. Learning from the episode of the war, Leica had decided to minimize risk of another devastating possibility of ruin and had opened another production facilities across the continent in Midland, Canada. Some of the production and camera/lenses assembling were moved to the American continent. Leitz II died in 1956 and Leica was then managed by three of his sons; Ernst Leitz III, Ludwig Leitz, and Günther. In 1966 a new production plant for Leica cameras started operations in Oberlahn, near Weilburg, Germany (It was followed by another new production plan later in 1973 which located at Vila Nova de Famalicao in Portugal). A few years later, the competitions was again getting intense with a new rivalry from the orient with their single lens reflex body, Nikon F debut in 1959. To counter the aggression of the Japanese camera manufacturers, Leica introduced their first single-lens reflex camera, the Leicaflex in 1965. It was followed by SL(1968), SL2(1974) and eventually, Leica R3 in 1976. Mid between all these developments, Leica had once partnered Minolta to produce a series a compact CL series bodies. Similarly, domestic long time rivalry, Carl Zeiss had sold to Kyocera which had their first professional class SLR model,
Contax RTS in 1974. Both domestic and international competitions in the market place actually had Leica went through some difficult periods. Besides, interim event such as failed introduction of LEICA M5. After 1972, with Japanese unveiled series of highly successful consumable SLR camera models such as Nikon F2 Systems as well killer electronic SLR camera model such as Canon AE-1, the market trend was inclined to more complete SLR system than rangefinder. For an example, the Canon AE-1 with only Shutter Priority AE automation was incredibly well received and it was said to have been sold more than a million units with a single production model. This had Leica reverted its strategy by consolidating its core resources back to rangefinder system with Leica SLR system slowly trying to find an opening amidst all the Japanese clear dominance in the SLR market. It was during this time that the Leica M4-2 was introduced in 1977 with a more successful M4-P debut a few years later.

Front section view with Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH lens LEICA M6 Rear section view testured body covering for LEICA M6

Stock / share certificate of LEICA AG

Historical chart link for price movement for LEICA AG shares/ stocks   Primary Subsidiaries:-
Leica Camera Inc. (United States)
Leica Camera S.A.R.L. (France)
Leica Camera Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Leica Aparelhos Opticos de PrecisaoS.A.(Portugal)
Leica Camera Japan Co., Ltd.;
Leica Cinema GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland

Others w/unclear status:-
Minox GmbH Optische und Feinmechanische Werke (Germany); ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH. Leica Cinema GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland.

LEICA Corporate Info - Basic search on background of the Company
Investors relation: Comprehensive information relating to the finances of Leica Camera AG - company reports, financial announcements and the statement of Corporate Governance principles - provides you with a detailed insight into the Company.

Annual Report Downloads: Available periods from 2002~2008
Press Rooms: Latest press reports or articles from the press archive

Live Stock Quote:- Leica Camera AG (Stock Quote: LCAGk)

LCAGK listings on other Stock Exchanges:-
LCAGk.H - Hamburg Stock Exchange
LCAGkEUR.Lp - London Stock Exchange
LCAGk.DE - XETRA Level 1
LCAGk.F - Frankfurt Stock Exchange
LCAGk.BE - Berlin Stock Exchange
LEIMF.PK - Pink OTC Market Exchange
LCAGk.MU - Munich Stock Exchange
LCAGk.D - Dusseldorf Stock Exchange

Historical Stock Chart / Stock Performance since its listing

Number of shares listed: 15.0 million (March 31, 2007: 15.0 million)
Shareholders (as of March 13, 2008):
– ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH: 96.51%
– Free float: 3.49%

Financial Highlights (2007/2008);-
Turnover Euro ¤156,238,000; Profit (Nett):- ¤3,042,000 EURO
EPS (Earnings per share
) : 0.19¤

Inside Leica, there were changes and some internal corporate reshuffling was occurred during the '80. Firstly, Leica seemingly had found a life line with the hugely successful Leica M6 introduced in 1984. In 1986, last of the Leitz family retired as board of directors and more importantly, LEICA GmbH was formed by merging series of smaller Leitz Companies as a single entity. Further changes was, the camera/lens production was relocated to current premises in SOLMS in years between 1986~88. In 1990, the holding Company had merged with another British Company, Cambridge Instrument Co. Ltd. with the camera/lenses division under Leica GMbH was renamed as Leica Camera AG. Another major decision was made in 1991 with Canadian Midland operation being disposed off in 1991. A management buyout was first brought up in 1992 but it was not successful. It was re-attempted by Klaus-Dieter Hofmann in 1994 and the exercise was completed in 1994 and Leica from here has changed itself as an independent Leica Camera AG.

Management buyout costs Money. The takeout for the financiers who backed the exercise was an eventual planned corporate exercise of a IPO (initial Public Offering) and it was materialized in 1996. Approx. 4.5m shares was sold to public and subsequently Leica had successful seek a listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange and had turned itself from private entity all these years as a PLC (public Listed Company). Ref: Leica Collector's Guide by Dennis Laney, answers.com; LA Times, Business Weekly


LEICA M6 "Ein Stück Leica", Börsengang. 1996

To commemorate the special occasion of IPO and successful listing on the Frankfort Stock Exchange in 1996, Leica had released a special edition Leica M6 to mark a milestone in Leica corporate development. After here onwards, Leica departed itself from century long private entity into a public Listed Company.
Top plate engraving of LEICA AG stock certificate on LEICA M6
This special LEICA M6 model was rather unique in quite a few ways. Firstly, most noticeable was the appearance, in particularly the body covering. Instead of conventional leatherette used, Leica had redesigned a new body covering with tiny repetitive small embossed LEICA logos. Basically, nice in its appearance but probably this was the first M-model that started to offer with a non-natural leatherette. Another more prominent feature was an engraving of a LEIVA share certificate in denomination of DM500 with indicative S/N. 0000 at the top plate.
Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

As it was intended as a special edition M6, the LEICA M6 "Ein Stück Leica" Börsengang 1996 model also was allocated with special engraved Serial Number on the camera body along side with Leica standard production S/N (Serial numbers range from 2300001 to 2300996). The special S/N on the camera body matched with the SUMMILUX-M 35MM F1.4 ASPH where additional lens production numbering was engraved. The Serial numbering has its starting unit i.e. 001/996 (Edition Serial Code) w/2300001 (production Serial Code) being placed as permanent collection display unit at Leica Museum in SOLMS. While the ending code was 996, which indicated the entire series of Ein Stück Leica Börsengang 1996 has a total production figure of 996 units. There are some relative meaning to the "996" in the odd issued number as it was short for September, 1996 - the month and year of LEICA IPO.

Original wooden / veneer presentation box in black for LEICA M6 Side view of black veneer presentation box for LEICA M6  Ein Stźck Leica Bšrsengang
One delightful inclusion in the features list was the presentation box. It was offered in a black smooth surfaced veneer like black lacquered Piano surface and button lock mechanism. The design of the presentation box of the M^6 IPO unit was shared with the LEICA M6 Platinum Sultan of Brunei 50th Birthday Edition, also a produce of 1996.
Rear section view of a LEICA M6

At the rear section, just under the film advance lever, you will find an additional engraving of "Ein Stück Leica" Börsengang 1996. "Ein Stück Leica" in German can be translated as "A Unit and/or a A Piece of Leica"; while "Börsengang" means "IPO" (Initial Public Offering"). The "Ein Stück Leica" probably means the Engraved Share Certificate or as a whole, can be refer to the special edition unit to commemorate the IPO.

Engraving of LEICA M6

Top view with camera and lens of LEICA M6  Ein Stźck Leica Bšrsengang A complete package of LEICA M6 "Ein Stück Leica" Börsengang 1996 model for collection should include the matching SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH wideangle lens in black finish.

Technically, the -M 1.1:4/35 ASPH supplied was Mark II series. It was reported it has production S/N coding with 3758xxx (while the earliest series should have 346xxxx. Anyway, it is not so important as individual lens has matched Edition S/N with the camera Edition S/N i.e. xxx/996 engraved. The lens has excellent handling and various lens features displaying properties, probably the only thing you can picked on is the tiny ridged aperture control ring. The depth of field scales almost have all the working apertures covered, except for f/2.0 & f/4.0.
beutifully taken image of the SUMMILUX-M 1:1.4/35mm ASPH lens for LEICA M6 Side view of SUMMILUX-M 1:1.4/35mm ASPH lens

Another rather unconventional feature was the lens data at the front section of the "Ein Stuck Leica" Summilux-M 1:1.4/35 ASPH wideangle lens were dimmed or rather painted in gray.

Leica M6 "Ein Stuck" 996 units of these were made in 1996. It depends on how affectionate you are with the trade name LEICA. After all, it was a special edition released to celebrate Leica entering the public stock exchange and it was done in the most appropriate fashion with a special edition camera/lens combo as LEICA was itself a camera/lens manufacturer. Probably to those who may have great passion towards the long established tradename in the business, it carried more meaning than any other previous releases and thus it has a specially engraved top plate showing a share of Leica stock. Serial numberings for this edition range from 2300001 to 2300996 with the first unit, bearing serial number 2300000 was kept as a showcased unit at Leica museum to mark the corporate development of the Company.

LEICA M6  Ein Stźck Leica Bšrsengang 996 units Special Edition for IPO, 1996 with dedicated/matching 35mm f/1.4 ASPH wideangle lens
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Each unit of the LEICA M6 "Ein Stuck" 996 carries with an authentication via an accompanying certificate bearing the signature of Mr. Klaus-Dieter Hofmann, the then President of the Leica Camera AG, as well as Mr. Wolfgang Muller, the Executive Vice President for Marketing and Sales for LEICA AG. Well, although personally I see it as an unnecessary move, but Leica had also convinced other celebrities such as an addition authenticity via separate card with an add-on signature of Mr. Sebastiao Salgado, a famous Leica photographer.

Stock /share certificate of LEICA AG and Authentification card for LEICA M6 Ein Stuck
Credit: Image(s) courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Stick certificate link to other views

Basic Views | Related Views

Anyway, more logically I would think its collectible status can be evaluate from another perspective i.e. as a trader quoted it rightly "... a brand new normal LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm F1.4 is selling at 4300US$, a brand new normal LEICA M6 is worthy 3000US$. Now, it is your chance to own this special limited kit set of M6+35/1.4 ASPH at 6980US$ only! Even cheaper than a normal version !.." make more sense than anything, isn't it ?

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 Leica M6 Classic Platinum Anton Bruckner 1824~1896 Edition
Instruction Manuals:-
Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) applicable to this M6 Classic Platinum Edition by Niels H. S. Nielsen

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Credit: Image(s) appeared herein this site comprised of several major contributors:- DigifanCN®EBAY STORE; IL-Contatto®, J-camera Korea®, www.BOSUNG.Biz®, LEICA Shop®. All Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers.