Rare &obscure vs. common & famous

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by darinwc, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Hello! I like odd, rare, and obscure cameras.
    But it is hard to find these cameras and even harder to find them at good prices. It seems nowadays that resellers but then up quickly and relist them for 5-10x what they are worth. But in reality there are very few people who are actually buying them. Just because they after rare doesn't mean they are desirable. So if I decide to sell one, I can rarely even get what I paid back for it.

    So I am wondering, maybe I should instead just invest in the the stuff everybody wants: Leica and Nikon and stuff. At least if I decide I don't want it, I can resell it quickly.

    What do you guys think? Is it worth it to have a "collection" of a variety of stuff.. or multiples of the same thing that everybody wants?
     
  2. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Your first sentence says it all: you like the odd, rare, and obscure cameras. If that's what makes you happy, stay with it.

    Cameras, even Nikons and Leicas, are a poor investment. I wouldn't collect with the hope of getting my money back.

    For example. I bought these:

    In ~1987, a Leica M3 DS ST PV with 50/2 Summicron. I'd say Mint- condition. Cost: $1000. Today, about the same for that.

    In 1989, a Nikon F3/T with 50/1.4, bought new for $1200. Today, much less.

    In 1994, a Hasselblad 501C with 80/2.8, bought new for $2200???. Today, much less.
     
  3. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    Cameras are a terrible investment. If you want an investment, look to the traditional stock, bonds, commodities, precious metals, etc. if you HAVE to invest in some photography related, invest in fine art prints, and be prepared to shell out some big bucks. For some reason people always think hobby gear will make a good investment, but hobbies come and go, and with the aging Baby Boomer population being so big into these hobby investments, the market looks to be flooded in the future as demand dwindles. As film photography rises in popularity, there will be some room for prices to increase, but the days of finding stuff for dirt cheap and watching it double in value is over.

    I collect cameras. But I do not do it as an investment. I collect ugly and interesting cameras to display. To me, they are functional decoration. Plus, I like to repair and restore them. Now I have made a good bit of money flipping camera gear. But that comes more down to luck and timing. If I stumble across something that is seriously undervalued by the seller, I’ll flip it. But if I’m not certain I won’t double my money at minimum, then it’s not worth my time. I certainly don’t buy things with the hope that they will appreciate in value over time. That would be foolish. If I want something that will appreciate, I’ll buy stocks, bonds, commodities, precious metals, or art, depending on the market. Collectibles and hobby gear are off limits.
     
  4. 4season

    4season Member

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    I think that's a pretty astute observation. Leica M was red-hot circa 2007-2011 (and before that, during the Japanese bubble-economy years), but now not so much. Still a fair amount of interest but prices have been slowly returning to normal, and most of the interest these days seems to be in what I'd consider the value end of the market. You might be able to eke out decent margins selling Yashica T4s or Leica Miniluxes today, but the total dollar amounts won't be much.

    One of the most successful investors of our time suggests investing in a good index fund:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/03/why-warren-buffett-says-index-funds-are-the-best-investment.html
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    darinwc
    buy oddball lenses from the 1800s.
    there is a mega market for them
    even 10years from now ..
    buy whatever the cameras are you want to use
    and use them ... and buy
    a couple of brass lenses and hang out ..
    you might be a few years off though ..
    PT ( Pre Tonpah ) the semi hemispherical darlot
    sold for about 15-20$ now probably 700-800
    crazy french landscape lenses were maybe 50-100$ ( if that )
    now ,, thousands ... no doubt there will be wet collodionists
    and they love those period lenses ... stay away from projection lenses
    they peanuts then and pistachios now ...
     
  6. OP
    OP
    darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I'm not really interested in cameras as investments.. but it would be helpful to be able to resell thinks for what I paid for them. Though it is tough with eBay taking its large chunk.

    But I find the market interesting. It is not like coin collecting where there rarity makes a huge difference.
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    even if you sell the lenses in 3 weeks you will get back at least what you pay for them
     
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