One Owner. Never Raced Or Rolled.

mel2014 195You don’t have to confine yourself to the hot rod ads to see this sort of come-on. Not since the start of eBay.

I have been idly leafing through the American eBay site…which increasingly seems to mean that I am also going through the Japanese, British, and occasionally Australian pages as well…and I noted that there are a number of cameras being offered for sale that have never been used.

In some cases this is understandable – the various proprietary lines of mini-lab stereo cameras that have been foisted on the public over the years frequently needed proprietary film as well as proprietary processing …and as none of this ever showed up in some cases the products never got used. Just as well, there would have been injuries.

In other instances the cameras offered seem to have been purchased as investments and the eBay buyers are being looked upon much as sheep in a race are by the shearers. It’s hard to say what length of time is appropriate for holding an investment camera but I suspect that it is a lot shorter for digital products than for film items. If you bought a case lot of compact digitals in the 2 megapixel era you are going to have trouble giving them away – you may be reduced to climbing onto a water tower and pelting them at passers-by until the cops talk you down.

The classic Leicas will always sell, whether they are classic or not. The classic Nikons also, but then you have to find someone who has the same notion of classic as you do. Lesser brands to a lesser extent, right down to the Argus C-3 – which is also in the pelt category but does a great deal more damage due to weight and sharp corners. You get hit with an Argus and they stretcher you off…

The sad and wonderful section is the 50’s and 60’s German cameras, particularly the Zeiss Ikon and Voigtländer ones. They have lasted surprisingly well, look almost fine, and are probably bought as much with an eye to use as to nostalgia. They are traps insofar as they were precision gear that has had no maintenance and is ready to break whenever it likes. You may argue that the Contarex was the peak of the SLR at one time but that the was 1959. Go to the window, look out on the road, and count the 1959 Mercedes cars you see…

I have been tempted – Oh Lord, I have been tempted – and have given in to temptation enough times to make eBay and the parcel couriers independently wealthy – but now I realise that there are so many other things that one needs to buy and operate when you go for historical analog cameras, that further purchase is politic. I shall regard the digital as the new country and be satisfied with that.

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