Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/02/01

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Date: Sat, 1 Feb 1997 19:27:07 +0000


I don't think that because Marc acquires something and later sells it 
at a profit defines him as a collector. If he does it enough he may 
be a dealer which is actually quite different and maybe the opposite 
of a collector. With Leica, if you follow the used market at all, you 
should have a fairly good idea of what is a good deal. Since Leica, 
unlike many other brands has tended to hold its value, through 
inflation alone, there is a profit potential. Also some equipment may 
be acquired before it is recognized as a collectable which may drive 
the price up or lessen the loss of value.

Case in point. When I acquired my CL, I paid what I thought was a 
reasonable value. That value was below the then market value, but 
more than I had considered purchasing a camera system for. But it was 
a friend in need and I did him a favor vs. buying something I wanted. 
I have used it steadily since that time and today I could sell it for 
between 1.5 and 1.8 times the purchase price. It was not acquired for 
a collection or a profit, but for use. The fact that after so much 
wonderful time with it, I could sell it at a profit does not make me 
a collector. Though I did not buy one at the time, I did look at a 3 
Lug M5 some 5 years ago to add to the CL. Today, I could have a 
profit in excess of about $1500 if I sold it at SB pricing. Again, it 
wouldn't make me a collector.

I think that a collector is better defined as a person who acquires 
assets for the purpose of holding them for appreciation in value. A 
dealer could be defined as one who acquired assets for the purpose of 
reselling at a profit. As, I've noted before, for the past several 
years Leica has performed better in appreciation increase than the 
stock market. Even a user should realize a profit on resale, provided 
he has made a prudent investment initially.  While much of my photo 
budget is invested in Bronica, if possible I'd like a good IIIg with 
lenses, and M5 and M3 all with lenses. I can't use all at once, but 
it wouldn't make me a collector since each would have its own use in 
my arsenal. 

I think that some people are guilty of being collectors without even knowing
it.  I can recall Marc Small claiming to use all of his equipment, implying
that he is a user, yet he also claims to sell some of his cameras and/or
lenses for more than he paid for it.  That appears to be a characteristic of
a collector (the worst kind, for that is what is driving up prices)!

Dan C.

Brian Levy, J.D.
Scarborough Ont.