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  1. #1

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    Leica iii Series Cameras

    How collectible do you think Leica's will be in the future if purchased now?

  2. #2
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Personally, I think Leica has done the collector's market to death with its commemorative models ("50 Minutes Since We Last Thought Of Something To Commemorate", etc.). As far as I am aware, no one has gotten rich by buying these, I think almost all can be bought today for less than the original price. I think Leicas will continue to hold their value relatively i.e. better than other film-camera brands but will not be unaffected by the extreme contraction of this market.

    Regards,

    David

    PS: Your post is headed Leica III cameras. If you can buy some of these new at 1933 prices, it would certainly be a great investment !

  3. #3

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    Generally, unless something is truly rare, and it can be well documented, or certified by Leica, then probably little chance of gain. One exception might ba a Leica rangefinder used by a professional photographer, but only if that photographer gains some notoriety.

    All III series bodies are generally good classic style user cameras. The IIIG is one exception, but prices are already so high that they might actually drop in price. This market is sort of like buying a Ferrari, just on a cheaper scale. You would be better off actually using one, rather than speculating.

    Ciao!

    Gordon

  4. #4
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    As you are probably aware, there is a pecking order among the III series cameras - the IIIa is a very good user, but collectors look down on it because so many were made. The IIIf is more expensive but may be the best user, for some reason collectors pay more for a "red dial" model than a "black dial." There are some very bad IIIc models around which were made during the war from inferior materials, you can tell these easily by the fact that the chrome finish is cracking and peeling off. The IIIg was regarded in awe by users of screw-thread Leicas as being the ultimate form of this kind of camera - as the ranks of people who thought this way become thinner with time, it has probably become less desirable, since an M2 or M3 can be had for the same money and is much more practical. I personally have owned models IIIa (2 examples), IIIb, IIIc (2 examples) and IIIf (2 examples). I enjoyed using them all but am quite happy now with a Voigtländer T. The best investment camera I had (but sold too soon) was a British Reid III, a copy of the Leica IIIc. The Reid was an inferior picture-taking instrument (fragile shutter) but because of rarity now sells at £1100 or more in mint or near-mint condition. I don't see any III-series cameras gaining significantly in value - for example, when I was a student in the 1960s, I bought a Leica IIIa with Summar lens in probably Exc++ condition for £25. This would now sell for £250 to £300, which is only in line with the rate of inflation.

    Regards,

    David

  5. #5

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    There ar'nt many original IIc left, prices don't reflect this yet. Most have been synched by 3rd parties or converted to IIf...

    Noel

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    My Leica IIIf with the f/3.5 Elmar would have cost $278 in the States when I bought it in Japan in 1953 for $150. In perspective, my pay as a junior Navy enlisted man was maybe $100. A functional used car was maybe $100 or $200. Gas was $.20. Even if the IIIf was in good used condition it would not have kept up with inflation. Better speculation at that time might have been the Japanese cameras that have become rare. My Leica M equipment, after hard use, hasn't nearly kept up with inflation. However, it has provided decades of reliable performance.

  7. #7

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    I'd like to ask the question again, almost five years later.

    How collectible (or as an investment) do you think Leica iiif cameras are now?

    Thanks for all replies.

  8. #8

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    Collectible? Yes. There's always a market for Leica cameras. Investments? With a few exceptions, no. Bad as an investment.

  9. #9
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Leica's took a serious dip in value a few years ago so my M3 and Summicron halved in value, same for my IIIa and Elmar & Summar. However since the start of this thread back in 2006 the market has bounced back and is now back above the level before the market fell.

    A good Leica M series or late II/III series F or G is likely to be a good investment as well as an outstanding performer. Post WWII optics are way ahead of the earlier lenses.

    Ian

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by getalifeagain View Post
    I'd like to ask the question again, almost five years later.

    How collectible (or as an investment) do you think Leica iiif cameras are now?

    Thanks for all replies.
    All 35mm cameras have continued to slide into lower and lower prices since you last asked. The collectors who bought them in the 70s through the 90s have taken a beating. One friend of my had hundreds of quality 35mm cameras he liquidated the past 12 months, saying "I should have sold 5 years ago when they were higher...."

    Maybe if you can get them for $100 for a body they will come up again in the next 20 years, if emerging consumer markets get interested (China, for example). The problem is, the people that inherit them think they are still at the peak of years ago, so they want to sell them for too much. You could also get stuck with equipment that stays at rock bottom for 20-50 years, only to crawl up after they are 100 years old. Do you have 50 years to wait? It would be like investing in buggy whips in 1920.

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