Altman Camera - Engraved Cameras

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by blind_sparks, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. blind_sparks

    blind_sparks Member

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    I've been reading up on the history of Altman Camera (and Ralph Altman's solution to his employees potential unionization) and have found the following thread most fascinating.

    I've recently come into possession of a Leica M4, of 1970 vintage, dealer engraved "Ralph Altman". The story, via Central Camera where I acquired it, is that Mr. Altman would use his allotment for the dealer engraving service offered by Leitz to have his name engraved on the cameras he ordered (versus the intended buyer's name).

    I've discovered one other such camera, an SL here, and was curious if anyone else 'round here owned such cameras (Leica or otherwise) or if any of the Altman Alumni remember this or the reason for these engravings (hubris?). I'm sure the monetary value (if any) added by such an engraving is highly subjective, so never-mind that...I wanna hear some stories! :munch:
     
  2. Mike F

    Mike F Member

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    Not sure how true that theory is. We were all able to order from the mfr at a big discount, so long as the equipment was engraved with our name. Presumably the engraving requirement was to inhibit our ability to resell for a big profit. There was no dealer max allotment I knew of, although there likely was an individual limit if someone wanted to push it. We all ordered high demand stuff, from Leicas to Hasselblads, at significant savings. Having said that, it would not shock me one bit to discover that Ralph himself ordered gear on his own personal account, just like any other employee, to sell outside the business if he thought he could make a buck doing so.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2014
  3. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Kind of like the dealer emblems permanently attached to new cars?
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The last camera I bought from Leica was at least $200. less than the lowest dealer cost, so yes it wasn't uncommon for some folks to buy more than one.
    Especially when you had considerable leverage.
     
  5. Peter Simpson

    Peter Simpson Member

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    If they aren't poked through holes in the body, heat or wd40 or a combination of the two will usually peel them off :smile:
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    They're engraved.
    Bondo & silver paint applied with a (small) roller? ;o)