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  1. #1
    blind_sparks's Avatar
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    Altman Camera - Engraved Cameras

    I've been reading up on the history of Altman Camera (and Ralph Altman's solution to his employees potential unionization) and have found the following thread most fascinating.

    I've recently come into possession of a Leica M4, of 1970 vintage, dealer engraved "Ralph Altman". The story, via Central Camera where I acquired it, is that Mr. Altman would use his allotment for the dealer engraving service offered by Leitz to have his name engraved on the cameras he ordered (versus the intended buyer's name).

    I've discovered one other such camera, an SL here, and was curious if anyone else 'round here owned such cameras (Leica or otherwise) or if any of the Altman Alumni remember this or the reason for these engravings (hubris?). I'm sure the monetary value (if any) added by such an engraving is highly subjective, so never-mind that...I wanna hear some stories!

  2. #2

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    Not sure how true that theory is. We were all able to order from the mfr at a big discount, so long as the equipment was engraved with our name. Presumably the engraving requirement was to inhibit our ability to resell for a big profit. There was no dealer max allotment I knew of, although there likely was an individual limit if someone wanted to push it. We all ordered high demand stuff, from Leicas to Hasselblads, at significant savings. Having said that, it would not shock me one bit to discover that Ralph himself ordered gear on his own personal account, just like any other employee, to sell outside the business if he thought he could make a buck doing so.
    Last edited by Mike F; 06-11-2014 at 10:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    Kind of like the dealer emblems permanently attached to new cars?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike F View Post
    Not sure how true that theory is. We were all able to order from the mfr at a big discount, so long as the equipment was engraved with our name. Presumably the engraving requirement was to inhibit our ability to resell for a big profit. There was no dealer max allotment I knew of, although there likely was an individual limit if someone wanted to push it. We all ordered high demand stuff, from Leicas to Hasselblads, at significant savings. Having said that, it would not shock me one bit to discover that Ralph himself ordered gear on his own personal account, just like any other employee, to sell outside the business if he thought he could make a buck doing so.
    The last camera I bought from Leica was at least $200. less than the lowest dealer cost, so yes it wasn't uncommon for some folks to buy more than one.
    Especially when you had considerable leverage.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgomena View Post
    Kind of like the dealer emblems permanently attached to new cars?
    If they aren't poked through holes in the body, heat or wd40 or a combination of the two will usually peel them off :-)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Simpson View Post
    If they aren't poked through holes in the body, heat or wd40 or a combination of the two will usually peel them off :-)
    They're engraved.
    Bondo & silver paint applied with a (small) roller? ;o)
    Heavily sedated for your protection.



 

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