Is the Leica an "Investment?"

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by thedancefloor, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. thedancefloor

    thedancefloor Member

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    So I've been listening to these audio books by Thomas Stanley about Millionaires. And they're really influencing me. He says that the people who are actually wealthy, don't buy luxury items and that if you do, you will never save enough to be a real millionaire.

    I have a Leica M6 Classic, with Canadian 35 Summicron version 4. And one of the reasons why I bought this camera was so that I could chit chat with passersby about it. I've been asked "Is that a Leica?" at least fifty times now, and it was fun, I've even made some friends. It's an awesome camera and I love it. But I could probably sell it for a few thousand and pay down my credit card.

    Does a Leica appreciate at 12% (my Visa interest rate)? I'm guessing probably not.

    Is there anyone else, so crazy as to have bought a Leica on credit!?
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    To achieve this effect a well-chosen camera from the fleamarket for a few Euro's would gain the same effect. Aside of giving photographs.
    Well, this is not about investment. But you raised this point.
     
  3. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Oh really? Let me know when you see Donald Trump shopping in Walmart :wink: Saving, unless you earn a great deal and spend almost nothing, is NOT the way to become a millionaire. This I know from experience!!! LOL!!!
     
  4. fotch

    fotch Member

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    First question, No, Second question. Yes.
     
  5. thegman

    thegman Member

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    At the moment, I don't think Leica prices are appreciating, at least not in the UK. Certain lenses are, but not the bodies. I have never bought any camera on credit, but if you're going to, a Leica (film) camera is a decent enough thing to buy. They likely will not increase, in fact, they'll likely go down in value, but nothing remotely like digital, and if you're a user, not a collector, the use you'll get out of them for the money is extremely good.

    I bought and sold a Leica MP for about the same amount of money, so basically I had the use of one for a few months for free. If I'd decided to keep it, and use it for say a couple of years, I'd have added a few nicks and scratches, maybe knock £100 off the asking price, which is amazing for a couple of years use.
     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    M6 appreciate? No more than a new BMW M5 :smile:
    If you are worried about a bank and or stock market crash, I think one may have difficulty liquidating 'investor grade' Leica equipment in a recession/depression and you probably would lose money in the long run.
     
  7. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    Leicas seem to have hit a peak recently-compared to prices about a year ago.Maybe the bottom will fall out of the market -maybe not.Hasselblad prices seem to have been falling for a while now and you can get a deal on one now that would have been unheard of just two years ago.I buy cameras to use though and not for an investment.As investments go,though it seems as if a leica is as good as any in the film camera market(investment wise,that is).
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A camera is a tool and a Leica is a nice tactile tool to work with. I have never thought of owning one as an investment, but I know collectors buy them and put them in cabinets. I suppose I am a collector’s nightmare, as I actually use them and they get dented and worn.
     
  9. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    I bought my M6 TTL new in 1998 and today it is worth a bit less than I paid for it, however, the lens seems to be a bit more. Certainly not an investment, but think about the money I have lost on Pentax stuff.
     
  10. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Yes a Leica is a good investment if the revenue is a large sum of great photos ;-) I won´t consider it a financial investment, though they have held their value better than let´s say an EOS Rebel Ti. I have dreamed of a Leica R8 or R9 10 years ago but it was way out of my reach. Now they can be had as NOS or "like new" for some hundred bucks. Have seen a R8 "in box like new" for 400 Euro some time ago offered by a dealer! However some lenses do command insane priced nowadays, because more and more people are using them for digital. That goes for Leica as well as Hasselblad and even old M42 screw stuff. The prices for East German M42 lenses have quadrupled during the last 10 years. Even simple stuff like Tessars is getting crazy high bids on Ebay today. If I only could have been known :D
     
  11. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Photograph machines are not wallstreet investment. If you want to invest money , you missed the train , you could buy stocks hit the bottom. If you think you will be a millionaire with your camera... you have higher expectations than many Leica collectors. But you can seach the thrift stores to find a forgotten serial number less than 50. You can reach to the villa when you are dreaming listening that important speeches.
     
  12. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Lens prices are certainly going nuts. I sold a summicron recently and it did very well compared to what I paid a few years ago. Investment? I don't know but it was nice to have a transaction go that way for a change.
     
  13. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    actually, if you read "the millionaire next door" you will discover that MOST people who have money get that way by (ta-DA) not spending it on junque.

    People like Herr Trump are show=offs who don't have any money because they spent it all trying to look rich.
     
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  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Make some famous photographs with your Leica, and it will be worth a fortune when you're dead, brassing and all.
     
  16. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    I don't see camera gear as an "investment." I have a pretty nice little collection containing pre-Civil War lenses, some really nice "big name" cameras from the 1930s, a 1940s Leica IIIc and three lenses, and a nice selection of LF lenses vintage 1895--1930. These are toys, not investments. At best I just expect to break about even when I resell.


    Kent in SD
     
  17. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    No, collectors love people like you, because it means fewer in top cosmetic condition!
     
  18. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Buying a Leica so you'll have something to talk about seems a bit much. But people buy things -- including cameras -- as status symbols all of the time.

    Buying a camera as an investment only makes sense if you can flip it for a quick profit and then reinvest the money either in another camera to flip or to put the cash into some other type of investment.

    A camera as a long-term investment is usually an "iffy" proposition because the market can be finicky. What's hot today can be surplus goods tomorrow. You should buy it only if you can pick it up very inexpensively -- less than half of its market value, I would say.
     
  19. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    I don't look at that sort of thing as an investment. It something one can and should use and enjoy. I look at classic cars the same way...if theoretically , I even went to the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction as a bidder (I've been as a "civillian") I'd be looking for a nice driver....don't see the point of stuff you have to just look at for fear of killing it's value.
     
  20. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Houses as "investments" got the world's economy in trouble. Camera are for making pictures, houses are shelter. We should have learned something from the Dutch after their tulip craze.
     
  21. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    the biggest problem with looking for any leica as an investment is, sorry, you are not going to have one that is.

    Want an investment leica? You need one of those special model M3s leica made for David Douglas Duncan and a few others. They are investment-grade because (a) they are unique and (b) got used by someone.

    Find a genuine Luxus leica I -- good luck, the real are outnumbered by fakes probably 20 to 1.

    Find a genuine Leica 72.

    Find the one you can prove was used by hitler's personal photographer.

    and so on. Modern "limited edition" cameras are not investments -- they are manufactured rarities, collectors are not fooled.

    Buying any other Leica as an "investment" is going to disappoint you -- the ultimate return is not that good. You have cost of storage, cost of maintenance, cost of purchase.

    Ultimately, unless you find a mint IIIG at a yard sale for $10, the return will not be worth the candle. Camera dealers make money at this sort of thing because they are camera dealers.

    you are not a camera dealer.

    I have IIIf RD that is spotless, totally unused, and i took a chance and had it serviced and it came back spotless and so on, and i never touch it except to exercise it, but even that, mint, beautiful, whatever, is only worth about $700 or so. Maybe a thousand on a good day.

    It cost me $400 (with some accessories, it is true) plus $200 to have serviced. So my ultimate profit? I could do better in the stock market.

    or the IIIF RD-ST that i use now with an abrahamson winder -- it also was mint when i bought , had it serviced, let it sit, and the servicer dinged screw head and eventually (10 years) it needed service again, had it serviced again by someone else, second service wasn't done right, had it done a 3rd time by someone ELSE again.

    And it finally came back right but, let's be honest, a camera that had been serviced 3 times.

    Did the math, pondered re-sale value, said "screw it" and I use it.

    It's dirty, it's got a few scratches, it has a piece or two of leather missing, but it's pure magic on that abrahmson winder and makes pretty pictures. How often, really, to you get to use what is, essentially, a brand-new Leica?

    Best investment i could have made.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2012
  22. thedancefloor

    thedancefloor Member

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    Thanks for the comments everyone. I think I will sell it, and come back to it, when I have nothing better to buy with all my millions.

    The thing has held its value for sure. The lens alone has increased in value about $500 in 3 years. But maybe this craziness is over?
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Wise move. If you wanted to make money by investing in a Leica, you are about 20 to 30 years too late. Others have already made the money on them. If film gets a lot harder to find and process, the value will go down, not up. At least if you bought a Hasselblad [again, not an investment], you could, if necessary put on a digital back.
     
  24. sharperstill

    sharperstill Member

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    I've sold 6 Leica R series lenses this year and most have sold for about what I paid for them. Some up to 10 years ago. So investment? No. But they can certainly hold value better than a lot of other camera gear. Mine were used but looked after. Plays a little havoc with your depreciation schedule though :smile:

    Jon
     
  25. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Question, are you considering the purchase value of the dollar 10 years ago with today? It is not the same as it was.
     
  26. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Successful investors buy when prices are low and sell when they're high, so unless you bought an M2 or an M4 when they were introduced and kept them in pristine condition, forget it. There are no cameras being made today that will be regarded as "classics" in the future. The digital stuff, just like computers, has built in obsolesence, and has no long term value.