Are people dumping their Leica collections in the trash?
I don't think so, but this article
seems to suggest a seismic shift in camera collector behavior. What experience do people have of this? Are the traditional blue-chip camera investments (like rare Leicas in mint condition) still holding value, or are they following the general downward trend of the rest of the secondhand market? Or is it that the supply of traditional collector's items is drying up and that more modern cameras (even original Nikon Fs, etc.) are not so interesting to collectors?
I think the part about aging and declining collector base, is something I read a few years ago in another article. Quite simply the collectors are getting older, less interested, or simply dieing off.
People who actually want to use Leica cameras might find the situation better in the next few years. The too high prices of the past might reach more reasonable levels, actually allowing enthusiasts to use some of these cameras.
However, with Leica increasing new prices, this somewhat offsets more recent vintage used gear prices. So the newer M6 TTL, MP, and M7 are still somewhat pricey. Older M6, M4, M4-2 gear has been more stable in used prices through the last four years.
A G Studio
I don't see how the market could sustain this genre of collectibles when there has been so much talk out there as to the demise of film, whether true or not. Certainly Perez's comments last year didn't help the market for something that one day may become nothing but a bookend, unusable as film ceases to exist. What is it worth then? At least an old sword, saw or ceramic can be used. Of course we all confirm, at least on this forum, that film will continue, but there are alot of people out there that can be swayed by the opinions of others with an agenda.
I remember years ago hearing that the market for photographic collectibles was being fueled by Japanese investment, especially in Leica. Maybe they and others have decided that it is the product of photography that is worth more then the tool that was used. Surely this has been shown to be the case in recent photographic art auctions where pictures have exceeded the cost of camera collectibles by tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds. It is the art now that is the collectible. As noted in the text, if a camera accompanies the art then they will continue to offer equipment. Now will this lead to a dumping of equipment. My answer would have to be, cut your losses and invest in what is going up in value.
A friend of mine had at least a $60,000 collection of old Hasselblads. During a fight with his ex during their messy divorce, she threw the cameras in the trash while he was off at work. When the divorce came to the discussion of money, she wanted a load from him and he pointed out that he was now nearly destitute as she had destroyed not only his high end professional equipment, but it represented the bulk of his net worth.
He said she started crying in the attorneys office when she was told the value of the cameras.
That was about 3 years ago. It shows that there was still value attached to camera equipment and it was used for real income. But, here is the other side of the coin.
I own a lot of camera equipment and so do friends. We cannot sell them as there is no market around here and George Eastman House refuses to take any donations of collectors items now due to the 'glut' on the market.
Yes, they do accept some items to flesh out their remaining darkrooms for the instructors, but they also laid off about 50% of their staff last year due to declining attendance at the museum and the shows.
Basically, analog cameras are becoming valueless antiques and it is happening rather rapidly. The introduction of other new technologies did much the same resulting, for example, in a lot of old B&W tvs going into the trash. No one thought of them as collectors items. Same thing with radios.
Now, the remaining tv sets and radios are becoming valuable again. Today, just three years later, my friend would have probably seen a big drop in the value of his hassies. In a few years more they might regain their value as people trash equipment.
Just some thoughts.
BTW, up until a few years ago, the items with the biggest increase in value over 100 years were Lionel Trains. Other model trains followed suit. The empty shell of a Lionel Blue Comet engine was selling for over $1500.
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I tried collecting classic D*****l cameras as an investment.
DANG! They all lost 95% of their value within Six months.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
Flotsam my D*****l SLR has been a great investment, it paid for itself remarkably quickly (2 days) and continues to allow me to re-invest in LF.
More seriously there is a glut of equipment on the market at the moment, and plenty of dealers selling second hand Leica's etc.
Perhaps it's interesting to note thte cameras now rarely appearing on Ebay, Exacta's quirky but extremely capable they are great cameras but what's happening to them . . . . . .
No empirical evidence to base this on, but I think a lot of black and white 35mm photographers have moved "up" to medium format, based on the tremendous deals available on used equipment and the increase in used medium format film equipment as working photographers moved to digital. I've heard that there was a lot of Leica dumping in the 60's as people moved to the Nikon F and other "modern" SLRs.
The prices on Hasselblads and Nikon F3 and F4s are shockingly low. Yet the really good or rare equipment is still hard to find. Certain special finish Leicas (eg titanium), Contax 645 accessories (my lens shades are worth more than when they were new, and try to find extension tubes) and certain classic lenses (Nikor 50 f1.2 Noct, 110 f2 Zeiss) have become very hard to find.
For the more ubiquitous equipment, many photographers are hanging on to it, since it's worth so little currently. As they die off, and the equipment hits the market, prices on good, working equipment should remain low.
I think the really rare stuff will continue to appreciate.
You are totally right Tom, speaking for myself I moved up to medium format in the 70's while also using 5x4 for work. In the 80's I moved up to 5x4 for most of my personal work, and 2 or 3 years ago to LF 10"x8".
But I've gone back to 35mm as well, I have things to say and this format is an ideal medium.
Yes, you have hit it right on the nose. There has been an uptick in sales of LF and ULF film lately. Of course, here we use 4x5 rather than 5x4.
Just kidding around.
Actually the panoramic sheet sizes are seeing a comeback as you may notice.