An Auction Site Camera Possibly Counterfeit?

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Tom1956

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I did not particularly like using the word counterfeit, but my vocabulary isn't supplying me with a more apt term. I just had a Rolleiflex pop up on my internet auction site home page, and clicked on it because the picture looked nice and the bidding is presently 94¢, with 6 days and some change to go. (an obvious new listing). The ad was worded as a "rare such and such model", and I got to thinking... How do I know it's "rare", and not a good chopshop job? After all, Rolleiflexes are prized, especially a good one. To glean a clue as to the origin of the camera I look at the seller name, and see it's some glorified pawn broker. How does he know? Certainly there are MANY chopshop Rolleiflexes out there these days. I'm just not inspired to be trusting that it is a "rare" camera, and not a Frankenstein job. Or am I too cynical? Or just plain out-of-line? Thanks.
 

thegman

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Define 'rare'. Pretty much any Rolleiflex is rare compared to an iPhone. Forget the marketing words, and look for actual facts, I'd say.
 
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Tom1956

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Define 'rare'. Pretty much any Rolleiflex is rare compared to an iPhone. Forget the marketing words, and look for actual facts, I'd say.

Agreed. I suppose my question comes from a rather knowledgeable capability myself of camera repair and rebuilding. Others actually doing this and selling them without better knowledge or intentions in their camera "work" endeavors take into account some of the more obscure facts. For instance, it is my understanding that the front and rear doublets or 2-somes were factory matched. Say somebody got hold of a really nice Rollei but with "cleaning marks" (typically), on the front glass. Then switched it with another Rollei that looked like it had been in a flood and stampede, but still had pretty front glass? And even were so conscientious as to switch the serial number rings? Now you've got a beautiful Rollei all minty and pretty, that couldn't focus better than some old Vivitar after market from the 70's.
How can you know these days? Internet auctioning has been around for years. Flea market items came from a flea market and will one day return to a flea market, until the carcass has been picked bone and all.
And trust is in short supply. You could throw an armload of Rollei parts in a burlap bag and shake it up, and I could assemble 2 nice Rolleies out of it. But they wouldn't be worth a nickle. That's my point. Always be honest or the whole camera pool is polluted.
 

BMbikerider

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Is there any way you can get the serial Number. Comparing it to known series would give you a good idea what it is and what it is worth. I believe there are good records of types/numbers held out there so a matter of finding the number. Even if it is a re-hashed/rebuilt model the lenses used may not be applicable to the number. Can you see what type of lens it is and what is the model of the camera.

Have a look at this site, I think it is pretty definitive.



http://www.rolleiclub.com/cameras/tlr/info/
 
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Vilk

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How do I know it's "rare", and not a good chopshop job?

How do you buy your persimmons? Do you you just hand over you wallet to the grocer saying, gimme two pounds and take the bills i owe you--after he assured you they just came in from china and sure are the juiciest junk he has ever seen in his life--or do you go through the crate handpicking the best two... more often than not walking out, hoping for a better batch tomorrow?

there's absolutely nothing different 'bout buying cameras. educate yourself on the problem domain; decide what you want; don't lower your standards. repeat weekly. polite greetings are all you take from the grocer

:cool:
 
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The definition of a rare Rolleiflex would be Rolleiflex 2.8B: 1952–53, 8 cm Biometar lens (Rare), as i gleaned from the internet. As most Rolleiflexes had quite large production numbers one would not really define any as rare, that is just sale speak and an obvious way of encouraging someone uninformed to bid on a camera on ebay. I think you need to research what type of Rolleiflex you want and find a reputable place/dealer to buy one, with possibility of returns. Buying on ebay from a 'pawnbroker' who waxes lyrical about Rolleiflexes may not be the best way....
 
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Tom1956

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Well, I think getting good camera gear in the auction site is less fruitful than several years ago. I've had to return the last 4 purchases because the things were too far gone or incomplete. And I do think there is some 1-man chop-shop activity going on. Mismatched lens assemblies are the most uncertain. What inspired me to ponder the disappointing possibilities was my own ability to work on cameras. The Rolleis tend to have hand-picked lens assemblies. Unscrewing the front doublet from a Graflex Optar 135mm and screwing it onto another rear end doesn't bother me particularly. Doing likewise to a Rollei is to turn that camera into a complete mess. If I could do it such that you'd never notice it, then can't other guys? As for me, I would not do it. I believe in each camera's "right" to stay complete (or the owner to have it that way). Switching Rollei lenses is absolute taboo, and so easily done it's frightful.
 

ntenny

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Pawnbrokers and antique dealers have access to a lot of tools of the trade for valuing their wares, so I don't think it's at all surprising that one would have the knowledge to categorize "rare" vs "common" models of cameras. (Quite apart from the fact that "rare" doesn't mean anything; maybe the seller just didn't cook it long enough to get brown in the middle!)

But if you trust adjectives in eBay listings, I've got a rare, minty bridge you might be interested in.

-NT
 

k_jupiter

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'Rare' is a film camera at the Grand Canyon this summer, much less a Rollie.

tim in san jose
 

elekm

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"Rare" is about misleading as "mint."

Both are useless terms when it comes to how people describe cameras - their own and others for sale.

A pawnshop wouldn't go to the trouble to cobble together a single camera from parts.

It is interesting how the price of Rolleiflexes has risen sharply in the past couple of years. In the early 2000s, people were dumping these as fast as possible to clear out closets. It also was in the midst of the "go digital" phase, which was nice for us film fans. I bought two very clean Automats with Tessars for $150 each. I bought three Baby Rolleis for $125 each. I bought four 2.8C Rolleis and never paid more than $250 for any of them.
 

rolleiman

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When considering the purchase of a quality item like the Rolleiflex, the following proverb is worth bearing in mind......
"The bitterness of a faulty item is a feeling that lingers long after the sweetness of a bargain price has been forgotten".
 

pdeeh

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I find it hard - if not nearly impossible - to countenance the idea that something sold on eBay might be even so much as deliberately misdescribed, let alone counterfeit.

What's the World coming to when you can't trust eBay?
 
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Tom1956

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What's the point of talking about an item on ebay without providing a link or ebay number? Is it this one? ends soon, bidding started at 99cents, has "rare" in the description. Looks like a real rolleiflex although I am not a rollei guy myself.
I see this thread I started popping up, still apparently not understood as to why I started it. I'm talking about the hypothetical (and possibly common) case of fine cameras being tinkered with by self-annnointed camera "experts", who have learned how to "chop-shop" cameras without proper study. Someone unwittingly exchanging matched Tessar sets, for instance, no matter how neatly done; has made nothing but a mess. And who's to REALLY know? Rolleis are basically pretty easy to work on. Chop-shopping incorrect shutters, switching glass, and the like, are child's play. Likewise with a Hasselblad, although a Hass is a dime-a-dozen camera compared with a Rollei. And lastly, I never set out to confine my question to only a Rollei. I simply only know of no other which is as "coveted". Hope my point is clearer now. Thanks.
 

nsurit

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I use Olympus OM cameras and the one which most often finds itdelf in my hands is one of my several OM 2S cameras. It always makes me chuckle when I see one listed on eBay as an OM 2S in the "rare" black version, which is the only way they were available. Your choice was either Black or Black. Much the same as Henry Ford and his Model T automobiles. Bill Barber
 

Sirius Glass

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In the internet world "rare", "hard to find" and "I do not know anything about ..." are required for submitted ads. Just ignore those words.
 

momus

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I sometimes use "rare" when selling old, old cameras, as it helps them to sell. I'd call them sweetheart if it helped to round up a buyer. Actually, all of my cameras are rare. I only have one of each!

Rolleiflex cameras are not known for fakes, it's the Leicas that you have to watch out for. As for mis assembled cameras, you're thinking of the Soviets. No one does it better than them.
 
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