I'm almost through to the bottom of the pile of camera gear I inherited. I ended up with about 50 cameras of varying types and conditions. There are a few cameras that are good as gold and some are not so hot. I was opening up boxes and finding old Brownies mixed in with Roleicords. It was a lot of work just making the first pass to figure out what I've got. Now the real work begins.
First, I've got to keep track of all this stuff. I decided to tackle that with a database. If you can access a FileMaker Pro database file, you can download a copy of it here:
Second, I've got to sort it all out and figure out what I can use, what I might want to get repaired, what I want to save for my collection and which things I might want to find new homes for. To do that, I've got to assess the condition of all this stuff.
Finally, I would like to put some kind of value on this collection. One reason is so that I know what a good asking price is for things I end up selling. The second reason is so I can put a value on the collection for insurance purposes.
For assessing the condition, I have a 7 categories: Lens, Shutter, Aperture, Body, Film Transport, Film Gate and Case/Accessory. Each of the categories is rated from 0 to 5. ("0" meaning that it's completely busted and "5" meaning that it's perfect.)
I also have another field in the database that calculates the average of the other 7 categories and gives an overall rating.
For assessing value, I have a calculation set up that looks at the overall condition and uses it as a divisor. If I can find the highest value that a camera in top condition might hope to bring I can use a formula like:
Camera-Value = Highest-Value * (Condition-Score / 5)
So, if a certain model of camera in top condition might sell for $50 and my camera's condition rates 3.5 out of 5 that would give me:
$50 * (3.5 / 5) = $35
I realize that valuing vintage cameras is the same as it is with other collectible items. You might THINK that your Mickey Mantle baseball card is worth a million dollars but it doesn't mean you'll get a million dollars for it. It's an inexact science that's based on market conditions and finding the right buyer for the right item. (Assuming that there is a buyer.)
So, what do you think? Have you got any pointers to help get it all sorted out?