My Grandpa's Lost Leica M3

Yesterday, Japan Camera Hunter finally ran my "In Your Bag" submission. In it, I talked about my hunt for "THE ONE TRUE CAMERA" to curb my GAS (which I failed as I bought a Mint TL70 and a Mimiya Press Super 23 since I submitted that post, but that's another story for another time.) 

In the article I also talked about how I came to owning a Leica M3. 

The original post on my personal Instagram when I found the box.

The original post on my personal Instagram when I found the box.

My grandpa, who himself was a hobbyist photographer and owned (and lost) many iconic cameras throughout his lifetime, died in 2014. And as the family was going through his personal belongings, we opened one of his cabinets that he had always kept locked and out of reach. Inside we found boxes of slides, some cameras, and to my delight and disappointment, a completely pristine red velvet Leica M3 box, complete with documents and instruction manuals--but without the camera.

So the hunt for the camera began. 

I asked my mom, my aunt and uncle about it and they could recall one time my grandpa had forgotten a camera on the plane but they didn't remember if it was the Leica. 

Good thing my grandpa kept everything in the box, so I looked up the serial number. But nothing turned up. So I went ahead and got myself an M3 off eBay, my first gateway Leica. It wasn't the exact same one but at least it felt complete now. 

Fast forward to 2016, out of the blue, I decided to google the serial number again for some reason and this time I found it! It *was* listed for sale on a Japanese camera trading site (the listing is still online) . It was the correct model and serial number! I quickly asked a Japanese friend to translate an email I wrote so I could send to the owner of the website. Turned out the camera was sold to someone in Tokyo, a year prior to my email.

Thank you Naoko for your translation!

Thank you Naoko for your translation!

I replied to Mr Yasushi saying I would be willing to buy it back from the new owner, but he never responded again.

So that was how I got my first Leica. I had always wanted one but never had the "push" to get one until I found out about my grandpa's missing M3. Even though that camera is not in my possession, at least I know it didn't vanish into thin air and it was sold to someone who actually appreciated it.