When it first entered the consumer marketplace in November 1948, the Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 was a technological marvel, as it could self-develop film in about a minute. In today's society, saturated with digital cameras that instantly display images, a Polaroid's achievement may seem like a small feat; yet, throughout the 20th century, Polaroid led the way in providing an instant film creating experience. With millions of Polaroid's sold over the past six decades, many people may ponder what is the value of their trusty instant-sidekicks.
History of Polaroid
Polaroid founder, creator, and inventor Edwin H. Land originally conceived of the idea for an instant camera after listening to his daughter complain about how long it would take to get film developed following a family vacation. While the original Polaroid was created in 1948, the colour film didn't appear until 1963.
A series of Polaroid cameras followed, including the hyped and much sought after SX-70 system, which was the first folding Single Lens Reflector instant camera. Popularity of the Polaroid continued until the birth of the digital camera, which overshadowed the Polaroid. In 2009, the last instant film was manufactured from Polaroid, with the company focusing on its digital brand instead.
There are many variables to consider when attempting to find the value of a Polaroid. First, and foremost, determine if the camera is still working. Check for availability of film on the Internet, despite Polaroid's halt of production. How was the camera stored--was the environment dust- and smoke-free? Are the accessories and manuals that came with the camera available, and what shape are they in? The more positive variables you can answer, the higher the value of the camera--whether you are looking to sell or purchase one.
While all factors are important to consider, a pristine, factory sealed, never-been-used Polaroid is far more sought after and valuable than all others. A brand new, never-opened Polaroid can be hard to come by, especially for more vintage versions, such as the Polaroid 195. A sealed, never-used Polaroid ensures collectors and other enthusiasts of authenticity and a more pristine condition than other buying candidates.
The Internet Effect
The Internet has allowed Polaroid owners to sell their treasures on various auction and selling websites. The average selling price of a standard used-Polaroid varies, hovering around the £26 mark, as of 2010. If it is factory sealed, the price generally jumps to the sub-$200 range. While it is true that Polaroids have a definite place in photography history, selling one will not make you rich.
The Polaroid Reality
Even if one meets all of the requirements, a Polaroid camera still may not be worth as much as you may hope. Due to the sheer amount of Polaroid's sold over the past few decades, there is a large amount of market saturation. Additionally, there are not many Polaroid collectors yet. However, with the halting of film production, this reality may eventually change.