A flashy title for a flashy subject: cameras! Why do I bring up these pre-iPhone dinosaurs? Because you may want to hear what I have to say before you throw away easy money. Okay, you are riveted, I am sure. One of the questions I ask when on a house calls is, “Got any old cameras?” The reason I ask is, most clients do and it side steps the real question I want to ask… “Can I dig through your closets and garage to find the goodies you don’t realize are worth money, so I can impress you with my, sometimes, useless knowledge?” I am generally called in to look at a few things someone wants to sell, either to downsize or get a little cash. Inevitably, it’s the other things I uncover that were thought to have little value that finds our clients the dough. So okay, back to the subject at hand, cameras, because the list of other things will be in future articles.
It seems every house in America had cameras and since they were expensive purchases, people tended not to throw them away. Even when things become old or obsolete, we tend not to toss those expensive ones as a rule. At least several of the past generations followed this pseudo psychological rule of mine. Cameras fit the bill. Plus, they are small and hide easily in closets and under beds. The issue is, now people believe they have little to no value as their phones do everything, but there is a strong collector base for most things camera related. There are some that have gone the way of the beanie baby, but the classics are still classics and very collectible.
Vintage Nikons, Leica’s, and Hasselblad’s command top dollar at online auctions every day and depending on the model, they can be quite impressive. I love when I find an older Leica M2 Outfit and get to tell my client they have well over $1,000 here. Their eyes light up! Or an older Nikon F2 with a few lenses and pow, there’s $300 to $500. We once sold a first production year Nikon for over $25,000, but it was a very rare, post war, first few serial numbers find. Let’s just say, that gave my customer a dance of joy, and shocked me. It’s actually what led me to learn a lot more about cameras.
So, don’t put your cameras out for a yard sale until you have your make and model checked out. Call a professional or do a little Googling. The lenses can be very valuable as well. Rare flashes and accessories too. The list goes on. There’s money in those old camera bags. And before you go crazy running to your closet because I told you, you’ve just won the lottery, get ready to shoot the messenger. They are not all worth big money, but you have better odds than a scratcher.