Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/02/27

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Subject: Re: prices on used leicas
From: "Tom Snyder" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 96 10:19:35 EST
Encoding: 44 Text


     In response to David's questions on Leica prices, I find that 
     Shutterbug is the most useful price guide.  Unfortunately, prices of 
     vintage Leica equipment has been rising so fast that other price 
     guides are frequently out-of-date.  If you are looking for relatively 
     rare items, part of the problem is simply finding the item.  If you 
     can locate one in one of Shutterbug's advertisements, you have a shot 
     at obtaining it.  The price guides contain theoretical prices of the 
     items if you can find them.  Also, prices in North America are 
     generally lower than in Europe and almost always lower than in Japan.
     If the stock market is red hot, then the Leica market must be white 
     hot.  I am a little surprised by the market driven price rises in 
     Leica equipment.  Of course, prices were much lower, say 20 years ago. 
      But even in the past 5 years, prices on screw mount equipment has 
     moved forward smartly.  For example, I bought a slightly foggy, but 
     cosmetically mint- 50mmF2.8 Elmar in screw mount for $75 from a major 
     dealer 4 years ago.  Now, the same lens might command $500.  Nice 50mm 
     F3.5 Elmars are often seen for $200 to $300 and up.  About 4 to 5 
     years ago, I picked up some IIIF black dials for prices ranging from 
     $75 to $150, all in nice condition.  The one for $75 was low because 
     it had a name engraved on it.  Now, these cameras would fetch close to 
     $500.  I sure other have plenty of tales, especially if you go back 20 
     Recently the M mount cameras have taken off, particularly the M3.  
     Several years ago, user M3s abounded and could be had at $300.  Now, 
     really minty M3s are hard to find at any price and might bring over 
     $2000, maybe more--I have not looked in the past month or two.  This 
     is pretty rough: but basically, over the past 18 months, I think the 
     dealers have been raising the price of good condition M3s by about $25
     to $50 a month (other comments are invited here).  I do not blame the
     dealers since this is a pure supply and demand market, and folk are  
     shelling out the bucks.

     In summary, used Leica prices are rising so fast that you can often see
     higher prices every month for those special Leica goodies that you have
     been longing for.  I have made my best purchases at trade shows.  You can
     usually bargain with people, especially late in the day when people want to
     clear off their tables, or when things are really slow.  I have also had 
     good experiences with some of the mail order companies like KEH and