Zeiss Ikon serial numbers

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From 1909 ICA used a serial number system for all its camera production (not extra for single models!), which was adopted by Zeiss Ikon after the merger in 1926. It is based on a letter followed by a 5 digit number. Whenever 99,999 was reached they switched to the next letter and started counting from 00,001. Not all letters from the alphabet have been used. In 1936 they reached the "Z" and started over again with "A". In some cases there are extra letters, as seen with many Contax. This means, that the camera was sent back to the factory for repair or modification.
After WW2 and the German separation the system was not used in a consistent way anymore. At least the West-German part of Zeiss Ikon in Stuttgart kept using it for some time.

Serial numbers for lenses from Carl Zeiss Jena, and then Eastern and Western Germany branches have been compiled in the Carl Zeiss Lens Serial number page

Camera serial numbers

ICA[1] Zeiss Ikon[2] Zeiss Ikon (W. Germany)[3]
Letter Year(s) Letter Year(s) Letter Year(s) Letter Year(s)
A 1909/11 L 1926 A, B 1936 P 1949/50
B 1912 M 1927 C 1936/37 S 1950/51
C 1913 N 1927/28 D, E 1937 T 1951
D, E 1914/18 O 1928 F 1937/38 U, V, X 1952
F 1919/20 P 1929/30 G, H 1938 Y 1952/53
G 1921/22 Q 1930 J 1938/39 A, B 1953/55
H 1922/23 R 1930/31 K, L 1939 C 1954/55
J 1923/24 S 1931 M 1940/42 D 1955/56
K 1925 T 1931/32 N 1941/43 F 1956
U 1932/33 O 1943 L 1956/61
V 1933/34 Q 1943/44 O 1956/57
X 1934 Q 1960
Y 1934/35 R 1961/62
Z 1935/36


Sometimes a 5 point star or asterisk can be found in some Zeiss-Ikon folders which were produced by Zeiss Ikon in Stuttgart (Contessa Werk) in the first years (1945 to 1949) after the second world war AND were partly made of parts from pre May 1945 production which were still lying in storage.


  1. Based on research of a private collector provided here
  2. Patrice-Hervé Pont, Les Chiffres Cles, Fotosaga 1994, ISBN 2-906840-06-8, p 34
  3. West German Contax IIa/IIIa serial numbers

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