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  1. #1

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    Selling inherited darkroom

    My grandfather-in-law was an avid photographer. He shot all over the world, professionally. He was also a machinist. We purchased their house (white bear lake) when they moved into a nursing home, and inherited all the stuff that came with it. He passed on a few years ago.

    What our fuse box refers to as a "wine cellar" had been the "dark room." He developed his own film. I believe it was medium format mainly, but also possibly some large, I can't be sure. I'd guess small too. It consists of a B+W enlarger (handmade), a color enlarger, a film dryer, magnet-hook things for hanging things off the HVAC duct, tongs, pans, a stand that holds the pan like a sink with a counter, and possibly more. The clock thing, probably the red light bulb? Any chemicals left I'm sure are expired and gross. There's probably photo paper.

    I don't know how to load film, let alone develop it. I appreciate those who do, of course.

    What is a fair price to sell this stuff for without doing crazy amounts of research into learning what it all is? I have a couple friends I think might be interested, and if they're not I'll go public

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    A few people have come to APUG in this situation, and it can be hard to say what everything is worth without being able to take a look at it. In some situations, fairly high end darkroom equipment ends up being virtually given away, because it can be hard to ship, and with the rise of digital photography, the market has declined for traditional equipment, and in those situations it may be best to find a college with a photography program that can use it.

    There may be someone here in your area, though, who can come over and take a look at what you've got and help you sort through it so you don't miss out and give away something that's really of value.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I live in St Paul and can help with trying to explain some of the stuff, but probably not all of it.

    Send me a personal message here on APUG or use the link, by clicking on my profile, to email me. I can spare some time and come out and help look at the stuff.

    - Thomas

    Quote Originally Posted by amarygma View Post
    My grandfather-in-law was an avid photographer. He shot all over the world, professionally. He was also a machinist. We purchased their house (white bear lake) when they moved into a nursing home, and inherited all the stuff that came with it. He passed on a few years ago.

    What our fuse box refers to as a "wine cellar" had been the "dark room." He developed his own film. I believe it was medium format mainly, but also possibly some large, I can't be sure. I'd guess small too. It consists of a B+W enlarger (handmade), a color enlarger, a film dryer, magnet-hook things for hanging things off the HVAC duct, tongs, pans, a stand that holds the pan like a sink with a counter, and possibly more. The clock thing, probably the red light bulb? Any chemicals left I'm sure are expired and gross. There's probably photo paper.

    I don't know how to load film, let alone develop it. I appreciate those who do, of course.

    What is a fair price to sell this stuff for without doing crazy amounts of research into learning what it all is? I have a couple friends I think might be interested, and if they're not I'll go public
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4

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    I used to donate spare photography and darkroom items to the Perpich Art School (they're in Golden Valley). But schools often put a high priority on consistency (i.e. same type of enlarger, same type of developing tanks) as to make instruction easier. Anything "homemade" may be difficult to sell unless fairly esoteric.

    There is an upcoming photo swap show (http://www.f-stopswap.com/) but I think it's a difficult venue to sell darkroom items. To augment Thomas' offer, I'd take lots of photos of the equipment and put up on Picassa (or equivalent) so you can point people with a link.

    Chemicals, if still in sealed cans, might still be good though not necessarily in demand.

    Occasionally, an item you might think is close to worthless can be of somewhat high value because it fills a particular niche.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Learning how to use the equipment and keeping it will have more of an effect on your life than any monetary gain the described equipment is likely to produce.

  6. #6

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    Lol I do NOT need MORE hobbies!!

    I'll take an "inventory" in the next couple of days and get things photographed (sorry folks, digitally, cuz I'm inept and impatient!).

    My brother-in-law is getting the actual cameras.

    I will say the homemade enlarger is actually nice. He hand-made the bellows and did commercially make machinery (I grew up with a workshop in my parents house and even I had to sort the tools by ones I could identify and ones I couldn't!), so it's not crap.

    The darkroom was part of the reason they bought this house in the first place. Sorry folks but I think I'd be better off with a wine cellar (or getting to that central vac located in there).

    I'm not really doing it for tons of profit, I just mainly want it out of the house but don't want to give it away and then have the relatives come tell me it was worth a bunch of money and be annoyed.

    If it's worth it I'll sell it, so if it's generally worth like 500 I'd offer to friends for like 250 and then CL for like 350 or something. If it's not worth much I'd either give it to friends or donate it. If it's worth a ton then hey, I get some home repairs done! (or more likely split the money with the in-laws and buy grandma something nice).

    The in-laws have already all been through the house and have had 3 years or so to get this stuff out. The "oh yeah that could be worth something, you should hold onto it" would only be fantastic if I owned a warehouse. I got the go-ahead from husband to rehome it.

    Obviously I'll be double checking online as I find out more stuff about it.

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amarygma View Post
    Lol I do NOT need MORE hobbies!!
    Very understandable. And a wine cellar is more practical if you are not an analog photographer.

    Unlike gold coins, old Gibson guitars and the like, old enlargers have no 'collector' value. Thus, darkroom equipment is not worth much these days. For example this enlarger was only $500. (Cost $20,000 in 1988).

  8. #8

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    Consider yourself lucky if you can find someone who will take ALL of it and not charge you for the service.

  9. #9

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    I just watched two 4x5 enlargers go to the landfill; tried off and on 7 months to give them away.

    I think you'll be lucky to get much, if anything for it.

    Mike

  10. #10
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    The problem is that there are too many of YOU (in the general sense) who want to get rid of old enlargers and not enough of US who want to buy them.

    Need a new hobby?

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