Several factors determine whether an old camera, like a Brownie or Instamatic, will be a valuable commodity sought after by collectors. Camera collecting is a popular hobby but there are so many brands and models that collectors usually specialise in one segment of the field. For example, some collectors may specialise in nineteenth-century wood cameras while others may be interested in finding all of the models of a particular brand, such as Kodak.
- Skill level:
First examine the camera to determine its condition. Take into consideration whether the camera works properly. Note if there are scratches on the lens or view finder, or any scratches or damage on the case. Check carefully the amount of wear or fading on the markings surrounding the lens.
Identify the brand and model of camera. Major camera manufacturers produce several lines of cameras to appeal to a larger customer base. Models that are popular with collectors will have a greater resale value than unpopular mass-produced cameras with poor resolution and fixed lenses.
Check with a camera collector, either on the Internet or in person, to determine the rarity of your camera. Rarity is a major factor when determining how much an old camera is worth. The value increases when the demand by collectors is greater than the available supply.
Research the time line of camera development to find out if your camera was the first model to introduce a new feature. Historical cameras are generally worth more than second-generation models.
Find the original packaging and manual that was with the camera when it was new. Collectors prefer a complete package when possible.
Check the prices that similar cameras the have sold for recently. Read the description carefully to make sure that the cameras sold are the exact model and in the same condition as yours.
Tips and warnings
- The McKeown Price Guide, which is the standard for camera collectors, costs more than £65 for the paperback edition. It is probably cheaper to check the current price with your local camera collectors club or antiques dealer.
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