Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
I'm really not sure what people are talking about in regard to increased prices in general.
Food and fuel prices have gone up in the last couple of years in the US, but for reasons having to do with food and fuel themselves (like the increased demand for corn related to biofuel production) rather than because of the "value of the dollar" as such. Cameras have, um, a pretty limited amount of corn in them, so I'd expect their prices to be little affected by the volatility of specific commodities...

Hey, it turns out that the Wayback Machine has KEH's catalog from January 1997!
The pages are PDFs; not all of them are there, but some are. Here are a few representative prices from sixteen years ago. Remember, these are 1997 dollars---multiply by about 1.4 to get current equivalent values.

Canon III rangefinder body $205, 50/1.9 Serenar $89
RB67 body with WLF $265 EX, $179 BGN
4x5 Crown Graphic, Graflok with RF, $235
210/5.6 Symmar-S in Copal 1, $429
M3 bodies, $919-1219 (I don't know what all the variations mean)
50/1 Noctilux $2370
50/2 Summicron collapsible $449 EX, $310 BGN
Nikon F3 body $546 EX, $379 BGN

I can't match all of these from their catalog today, but the Symmar, for instance, would run you $179 in EX condition (and that's for the -SMC version, which I think the one in the old catalog isn't).

Of course, 1997 was before d*g*t*l really took off, and it might be more illuminating to look at prices from 5-10 years ago. (Those should be in the Machine too, but I have to get the dishwasher loaded and get to bed.) Still and all, if you tried to fund your retirement by investing in vintage Leica bodies, you might have lost some ground.