Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/01/21

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Moss / top plates (long)
From: "Hans Pahlen" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 11:57:56 +0100

So, it is true! I have recently been confronted with dealers in Copenhagen
and Gothenburg, offering to buy my black M4. I told them it is a user's
body, but they said the top plate would be replaced if everything else was
fine. During the recent years the used Leica market in Sweden has been
vacuum cleaned for all decent gear (LTM-M2-M3-M4-M5) by certain dealers with
contacts abroad, and then exported. This have been good business, because of
the weak Swedish currency. On behalf of new Leica users, I am sorry about
that, but at least, I have learnt to hold on to my own gear.
I think prices paid for black M-cameras on different auctions are
ridiculous, and now people are making a lot of money by replacing top
plates. What a world! No offence, Marvin, I would like to give my own camera
a new top plate too, if I only could. But there is a difference to fix my
own camera, compared to turning it into a wholesale business taking
advantage of the high prices on the collectors market.
Well, as long as there is a demand, somebody will make it into a business.
This summer I was in Prague, and there was a shop full of LTM-bodies with
all kinds of "Luftwaffe" and "photo reporter" engravings, golden and silver,
shining new top plates. Of course they were all Russian copies, but someone
obviously has started producing top plates for these Zorkys and FEDs. These
cameras were fakes, and they made me laugh, but what do we say about all
these "mint" black M-bodies, that sooner or later will turn up at different
auctions? I will stubbornly refuse to sell my M4 to these people. I will go
on using

Another thread: Three years ago, on my daughter's 15th birthday, I gave her
a camera. I said: I will give you one of my Leicas and some lenses, or I
will follow you to the camera shop, and you can choose the camera you want.
She picked up a AF-Nikon SLR with a zoom lens, and I taught her how to use
my Focomat. But a year ago, she started using my old Nikon F with manual
and Minolta light meter. I was very happy about that, discussing shutter
speeds and F/stops, and I am waiting for the day when she will ask me for
one of my M:s. Now she is 18, and will finish college this spring, looking
for a photo school. Last summer she worked for a friend of mine, a portrait
photographer. Now she knows more about studio lighting than I do...

> be called a counterfeit.  Recently a collection of new top & bottom
> plates & the engraving dies along with the engraving machine that
> was sent to Canada appeared in Japan, bought at a Swiss auction
> by a rich Leica collector who said he only bought it to keep it out of
> dishonest hands.