Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/04/12

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Subject: [Leica] Re: RUSSIAN KGB leica?" (Walt Johnson
From: Thinkofcole at (
Date: Wed Apr 12 07:48:58 2006

I have mentioned elsewhere that about 15 years ago, in New Jersey, I paid  
for a Russian Leica copy, a Fed,  that had Cyrillic script that  said NKVD 
and a lot of other words, including Kombinat... It had a 50mm/f3.5  Elmar 
copy,also a Fed, with the diaphragm slide exactly like the Elmar rather  
than the 
type of diaphragm circular slide used today on the Jupiter  copies...It also 
a four-digit serial number at about 9000...Essex Camera in  New Jersey put 
new curtains and gave it a CLA for $112, so it cost me  $120...I used it for 
about five years then tried to sell it at the Second Sunday  Camera Show in 
Wayne, N.J. 
I researched it and thought it might be a big deal, so I offered it to a  
Russian dealer at the show but he was not even interested...I eventually 
sold it  
for about $175, with the lens and case...Others have said that the Russian  
dealer didn't know what he was being offered while still others said that 
of  those early Leica copies were marked NKVD but that did not mean very  
I believe that Russian lenses can be erratic but can also be fine; I have  
two Elmar copies and both are great...I have had a few Russian cameras and 
 found one I would keep.   
Yours is not a phoney but in my experience -- and I could be wrong -- NKVD  
markings do not make it valuable...regards, bob
Ted Grant wrote:
 Hopefully someone out there in LUGLAND has some idea whether this is  
> for real or a phoney Russian KGB Leica knock off camera?

Sunday at the Vancouver camera swap meet Peter Kline pointed out the  
> "Russian Leica" I had to sell was engraved with NKGB and some other  
> Russian script. Tom Abrahamsson suggested I should put it out of site  
> until it could be verified in some manner whether it was for real or  not.
> So over to you crew, does anyone have any solid information  about 
> whether this might be or suggestions on how to verify it? And yes  the 
> camera works as best as we could  tell.