The Elusive Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum


Let’s face it, black and chrome cameras are beautiful and have a special place in our hearts but cameras with unique colors are really where the party’s at. Take for instance this rare Leica M3 covered in olive green paint. We’re not gonna lie, it’s straight up gorgeous.

Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum © Lars Netopil Classic Cameras, Wetzlar

The Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum is the real deal. Not only is it clad in military colors but it was also commissioned to be used in actual military operations. Leica introduced this camera in 1957 through 1958 as the standard issue camera of the West German Army (Bundeswehr). Only about 300 olive Leica M3’s were made and an estimate of 144 cameras it are left.

These olive Leica M3’s were sent to the government as a set. Each kit contained three lenses, a leather carry case, the camera body, and a meter. They are serialized and engraved with the word “Bundeseigentum” which means “government property.”

Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum © Lars Netopil Classic Cameras, Wetzlar

Aside from being a total eye-catcher, the olive Leica M3 was also tough as nails. Various postings show different units of the olive Leica with beautiful brassing and patina. That can only come from continuous and religious use and is a telltale sign that the cameras have seen its fair share of action. These cameras are made to be roughed up in the field. That’s what they were built for but you can’t blame a collector for wanting to display it as a grail piece. It’s too beautiful to just bang around.

We spotted this over at Lars Netopil Classic Cameras and it’s no surprise that they have one posted up. They are a trusted name in Leica camera acquisition and collection. Lars Netopil Classic Cameras have a wide variety of rare Leica cameras as well as a clientele with discerning taste so it’s more than safe to assume they know their way around camera gems such as this one.

We would like to thank Lars Netopil Classic Cameras for letting us feature their camera. All information used in this article was sourced from MIR, Legendary Camera, and Japan Camera Hunter.

written by cheeo on 2018-08-05 #gear #gear #leica-m3 #lars-netopil-classic-cameras #olive-green


  1. geo_96
    geo_96 ·

    Thank you for sharing this amazing M3.
    Leica Olivers are actually some of the rarest and most sought-after of all. They are many types of engraved, e.g “Bundeseigentum“ (Federal Property), “Bundeswehreigentum“ (German Army Property), and the rarest one of only thirty cameras are produced - M4 “Bundeswehr“ (German Army).

  2. blue-dog
    blue-dog ·

    My father bought one of these at an auction in 1983 for about $245.00...I was touring Europe at the time and communication at the time was kind of expensive by phone and post took weeks he tells it.." I knew this was pretty special, because of how the price went up so fast." " I thought i was going to stop but at $150 but i just got caught up in it..." He said. I was only able to call home a few times in the 6 months I was in Europe and when i did call he said he had bought a camera called a " liazzc" or something that did not sound like Leica. He didn't tell me he paid allot for it (which could have helped me understand it was a Leica. He never paid more than $5.00 or at most $10 for a camera), and the way he told me it just sounded like yet another off brand camera he had bought. I said " Im not sure about this Dad, but hold on to it until I get home..." Some months later when I got home he told me more about the camera he sold for $400.00.

More Interesting Articles