Help needed with lots of equipment that must be evaluated

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by George Papantoniou, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    Hello to all old (and new) members here...

    There's been a long time that I haven't posted here, mostly because I haven't been in contact with the medium (I've been working of course, but I haven't been "playing" with my darkroom and the rest of the stuff) so I wouldn't have much to contribute here... hope that this is going to change soon (especially since the recession has slowed down things significantly with work here).

    I am posting this because an old friend and colleague of mine has stopped working lately and asked me to help him sell a big part of his studio equipment (shooting / lighting) on the net, since the possibility of selling it locally is really small !!! He's got lots of LF stuff (sinar cameras, lenses, accessories) and some MF and 35mm goodies too. The thing is, I cannot calculate the prices that I should ask for most of the stuff and so the Ebay auctions that I have started until now are mostly without interest from potential buyers...

    Therefore I thought that there might be some friends here that could help me to find at what price I could tag some things in order for them to be sold and also give some advice as to where I could place some selling ads (apart of Ebay - and the APUG classifieds where I intend to start placing ads).

    The thing is that I am not sure whether it's correct to give a list of the items that are available here, since this is not the classifieds forum, maybe if someone is an expert on the field can send me a pm and then I can give him/her the list and he/she can evaluate the items ?? Or can I give the list here, openly ??
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I would think it would be o.k. to post the list if all you are doing is asking for valuations.


    Steve.
     
  3. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    If I'm unsure how to price any item I check the "Completed" listings on Ebay. This often helps.
     
  4. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Or have a look at some of the online stores that sell used gear; sometimes Ebay gives some odd prices, so by checking both, you'll get a fairly good indication of its (perceived) value.

    http://keh.com
    http://www.mifsuds.com/

    I use both, and do an average price of any gear on Ebay that closely matches my item - I knock off the highest and lowest to get a "true" average price.
     
  5. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    keh.com is probably the largest used dealer in the US. They buy equipment for about 50% of their retail prices (mainly only stuff they can readily sell.)

    Jon
     
  6. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I'm in the same boat. I have my father-in-law's camera collection to go through, catalog and evaluate.

    I go in eBay and take the average value of what things sold at.
    I also look at KEH, Adorama and B&H.

    Camerapedia and orphancameras.com (butkus.org) is also a good resource.

    There is a site called worthpoint.com that helps you find up-to-date prices/values on collectible items. It is a pay site, however. It might be worth it to you if you like the convenience factor or if you have a lot of stuff to evaluate but you can probably get the same information by going to other websites. Would you rather pay somebody to do the legwork for you? If so, Worthpoint is worth it, otherwise don't waste your money.

    One thing. Look at your camera equipment with a jaundiced eye when it comes to putting a monetary value on it. Many people think they have a goldmine in old camera equipment but, unless it is rare and in really good condition it's not worth as much as you think.

    Here's what I do. I take the TOP value I can find and consider that as the best price I can get if the camera was in mint condition. Then I rate the camera from 1 to 5 on several categories. (Lens/optics. Mechanics/film transport. Body/cosmetics. Accessories/case. Other.) I come up with a score for each category and take the average to get the camera's bottom-line condition.

    Using the condition score, I mark down my top "mint" price to get the value I think the camera is worth.

    So, let's say I have a camera I think is worth $150 in mint condition.
    I score it thus: Lens=4. Mechanics=5. Body=3. Accessory=2. Other=4 -- Bottom line would be 18 out of 25. That's 72%. Thereore, my asking price for such a camera would be 72% of $150 or $108.

    So, by my (admittedly arbitrary and non-authoritative) system, I would ask for $100 to $110 for such a camera, if I was going to sell it.

    Also, don't forget, regardless of how much you think something is worth, it's only really worth what you can find somebody to pay for it. If you have an original Babe Ruth rookie baseball card you could say it's worth $1,000,000 and it might very well be worth a million. But, unless you can find somebody willing to part with a million bucks, that card ain't worth squat!

    Negotiation is key! Somebody might offer you a half-million for that Babe Ruth card. You might be well-off to take the half million and be done with it. You might do well to ask for a bit more and see what the buyer is willing to give. Same thing with cameras.

    My camera might very well be worth a 100 clams or even more but, unless I can find a buyer with a Benjamin burning a hole in his pocket, I've got nothing but a hunk of metal. You might be able to get $75 for the camera.

    You can certainly sell things on eBay but, in reality, auctions are just another form of bargaining. If you post a camera on eBay and the price only bids up to $50 you are obliged to sell for that price, even if you think it's worth twice that.

    I've got boxes full of Brownie cameras. Everything from Baby Brownies to Brownie Hawkeyes in varying conditions from near-mint to near-junk. Even the mint condition ones are worth, at most, $10 to $20 if I can find the right buyer.

    It's all one big game, really.

    For me, the bottom line is not really money. The thing that is most important to me is to find somebody who will appreciate (and hopefully use) the cameras that I offer for sale. That's probably the best I can hope for.

    Money has to be secondary, really.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  7. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Since KEH will generally buy for 1/2 of their selling price (in my past experience) I like to use 75% of KEH selling price as a starting point. Ebay completed auctions are another useful point of reference (as noted above) but you have to strip out the as-is, no returns, "I've never used this camera" listings unless your sale also has those conditions. Also some ebay listings have abnormally high (inflated) shipping costs.

    At the same time, selling internationally without even the semblance of ebay and paypal buyer protection (it may not be much but it is something) might be a drawback that needs to be reflected in the price.

    On the other hand, individuals that have a long time presence on this and other respected forums, selling gear they have personally used, is a plus factor.
     
  8. HelenOster

    HelenOster Member

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    A heap of good advice; just wanted to throw into the pot that if you want to do a price comparison with Adorama, the used department generally buy in equipment for around 70% of their expected re-sale price.
     
  9. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    Thank you all for the tips and advice, I'll check out the online stores you mention and see if I can find some useful information.

    I might post here a small list of some hard-to-valuate items after that...

    The hard part of this thing is how to convince my friend that some old equipment that he valued so highly (some decades ago) could be obsolete and without any significant value today...
     
  10. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Significant monetary value. We see this all the time on Craigslist (a general online ad venue) where people price their analog equipment like it's still 1990.

    We, of course, know that their right :smile: But the rest of the world doesn't.
     
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    You've got to consider personal or sentimental value but you can't put a price on sentiment.

    If you have an old camera that was used by your father before he passed away you will, of course, value it more. But that's not going to translate into a higher selling price unless you can give a good reason. Maybe your father was a professional photographer and this is equipment that he used. But, often, sentimental value just means that you don't want to sell it, for personal reasons, unless the right buyer comes along.

    I have a whole bunch of stuff that I hope to sell, eventually, but only to people who will appreciate it as a collectible or who will use it. That's because it was my father-in-law's gear and that's the way he would have wanted it. Does my sentimental value translate into a higher price? Not really. But it does help dictate the conditions under which I will sell.

    So, does your friend have the right to value something more for sentimental reasons? Yes! Absolutely!

    But, unless you have hard evidence to show why something should sell for a higher price, sentiment doesn't always equal money.
     
  12. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    OK, here's some stuff that I cannot find on Ebay or the online second-hand shops...

    Maybe someone can help me put a price on them...

    A 360mm Imagon in its original box...

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    A thingy used to make double exposure effects in 4x5 LF cameras... with its documentation and its original box

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    A shutterless Tele-Xenar 360mm

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