View Full Version : What do you do when gifted the wrong collectable?

02-18-2012, 02:02 PM
It's fairly difficult to come up with the correct title to my question. Basically, I love old cameras like the rest of us here, but my intent is to put them to use. My mother tries hard to gift me things having to do with my interest, but puts her own feeling into it. Don't get me wrong I am grateful that she tries at all which is where my predicament comes into play. She goes out of her way to find things in antique stores and typically buys only things with original packaging. She did the same thing with woodworking tools. She is buying pieces more on a collector level or display level. Not a user level. I just know she is spending a fortune on this stuff without really knowing the value,plus spending extra for the packaging which I could care less about. So here is the example: The Tower folding camera. Great condition, but again not a camera that I would have seeked for myself. It is a heavy, solid and seemingly well built camera until you get to the shutter/lens. Very Sears/consumer camera rather than a higher end for the time, which I like. I wouldn't mind taking it out and running a few rolls of film through it, but I know that will be the end. If I keep the camera because it was a present that is well appreciated, I feel bad tossing the original packaging. If I turn around and sell the whole thing to someone that will appreciate the whole package for what it is, I have turned a cold shoulder to a gift.

How do "you" handle such things? The wife and I don't really display any of my camera equipment outside of the 8x10 Korona, so it won't be going on a shelf for display after those couple of rolls. More like on a shelf in the garage to collect dust. And, that seems just as wrong as the rest of this situation.

Thanks for the input.


ps. please excuse the camera phone shots.

02-18-2012, 02:43 PM
If it were my mother spending a bunch of money on a camera I wasn't going to use, I'd make sure she knew I appreciated it, and then let her know in advance it's not as "usable" as what I collect and I'd be swapping it for something less collectible and more compatible with my uses. In the future, she can buy some photo film or a book I have on my amazon wish list.

I have also had people gift me cameras when they were moving / cleaning out / to save them from a lawn sale or trash pile. I've generally taken them, knowing fully I wasn't going to use them. I had great success using those as bartering material for cameras I do want.

A neighbor did give me a yashica TLR once. I tried it, put it away for a while, got it out a couple years ago, and have made tons of great photos with it.

tony lockerbie
02-18-2012, 04:08 PM
Try shooting this camera, you may be surprised. Lucky to have a mum that really thinks about what to buy you. I would keep the camera and pass it on, maybe a future generation could sell without offending anyone. I know what will happen to all my stuff when I pass on!
My sister recently phoned to say that she had picked up a Leica for $5 at a local charity shop and would I like it....well I was quivering with anticipation! Turned out to be a C2, a Chinese made P&S, oh well, at least it is a Leica....gift gratefully accepted!

02-18-2012, 04:13 PM
I imagine you can explain you situation (as well as your appreciation) to you mom. Show her exactly what you use and then send her out on her mission.


p.s. You can send any unwanted cameras my way, I'll find a use for them.

02-18-2012, 04:23 PM
I wouldn't mind taking it out and running a few rolls of film through it, but I know that will be the end.

Jody- How can you be sure "that will be the end"? I was given an Olympus PenEE, a few years ago. I had the same thoughts as you, but decided to give it a whirl. I hadn't shot 35mm in 20 years, let alone half frame. I had a blast with it, and it led me to revisit my 35mm camera. From that, I was led in other directions, but directions I would not have traveled if I hadn't tried the camera.
Aside from that, I think it's great that your Mom thinks of you, and your passion for photography.

02-18-2012, 04:27 PM
I would say to her "Thank you mom"... Dont be greedy, shes your mother and enjoys giving you these gifts.

02-18-2012, 04:31 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone. @JP- I have also been gifted quite a few cameras over time and most I use a couple times and then do the same and trade out for one I rather have. This is just that it is Mum. After getting glitter sweaters and 6 in 1 flashlights for the past 20 years, she is on the right track and don't want to discourage the turn down the right avenue. Even if it is a one way road in the opposite direction.

I will shoot this camera to see the results and may very well keep it, but that packaging means something to some collectors and I have no interest in keeping that. Funny thing is, she bought my wife an antique doll for xmas this year because it was Swedish themed and my wife is Swedish. Original box and paperwork collectable doll and my wife nearly screamed when she saw it. Much like a "Chucky" doll in her opinion and freaks her out. I had to take it out of the house so it didn't escape in the night. Mom=great woman, great heart, love her, just on a different page. We actually told her about the doll. She took it pretty well, I just didn't want to double up on her.

02-18-2012, 04:51 PM
Must have been some doll. wow.

Maybe it's time to gently educate your mom -- take her aside, show her your collection, maybe even mention something specific you can use and really need "and I saw one a while back here..." and then let her help you out. She might quietly appreciate the guidance.

This happens to me a lot because I've written about my photography in my column (I did the one on film and Twinkies that is currently highlighted in the news section--yay!), so I get calls often from widows with camera gear from their husband they want to give to me.

With the exception of a Nikkormat outfit and a Leica IIIf (which I insisted on paying for) they're mostly Nikons and other similar consumer-level cameras. If I can use any of the stuff to improve my kit, I do. Then I find the rest a new home -- students are good recipients of these. I gave the Nikkormat outfit to one of the paper's photographers who was anxious to try out this film thing, and he's doing great stuff (www.nickshortstudios.com)

But often it's junk: Polaroids, or a movie camera, or something. Or a ssytem I just can't use -- like the Ricoh outfit someone's husband specifically left to me. I've very flattered but have no use.

But every time I say thank you, promise to use it as well as I can, and then leave and find a handy dumpster. The Ricoh outfit is still downstairs waiting for a home to magically appear. Maybe I'll go up to the local college and see if a student in the photo lab needs a scholarship.

02-18-2012, 05:09 PM
Shoot the camera - accept the gift and use it, as it's now not just a simple camera - but a gift of love from your mother.

Do you know what my grandmother used to give all of her grandchildren for Christmas, every single year, like clock-work, and even if we already had one from past Christmas? A lantern-battery flashlight. The old red ones with the rubber button clicker. Yep, year after year.

Be thankful you're getting a camera instead. Just put the packaging in the garage, attic, wherever. It can't possibly take up that much space, can it?

Edit: I just noticed you already got flashlights, hah!

Wade D
02-19-2012, 03:32 AM
Years ago my dad bought me a zoom lens to fit an X-700. It was generic and not as sharp as the best but I shot many pictures with it and still have it even though I no longer use it. He is long gone and at least he saw me use it.
Another gift was from my brother-in-law. A CertoCertix 6x9 folder which sat unused for many years. I finally loaded a roll of 120 and found, to my surprise, it takes great pictures.
A gift from your mom, even if you rarely use it, is something to appreciate. At least she knows you like photo related items.

02-19-2012, 04:35 AM
I'd keep it an use it, I'd appreciate that someone has gone out of their way to find me something I'd like. Maybe your mother didn't quite get the right thing this time, but making someone happy is sometimes (always) better than having *just the right* camera.

Don't discard the box, maybe you see yourself as the kind of guy who buys old higher end gear un-boxed, but there is no need to pigeon-hole yourself like that, just enjoy the gift.