Is My Vintage Camera Worth Anything at Auction?

Vintage cameras can be very popular among collectors, but determining whether a camera is hot or not seems like a bit of a dark art. So, is your vintage camera worth anything? Here at Potteries Auctions, we’re on hand to provide expert valuations for your cameras and photography equipment.

This Nikon FA 35mm SLR & equipment sold for £130 in our March Fine Art sale.

When it comes to valuing vintage or antique cameras, it’s not just the age that governs its worth – there are very many old cameras that are sadly only worth a few pounds. However, some defining factors that can determine a camera as having genuine value are quality and uniqueness - such as whether the item is a special edition or made in fewer numbers). Cameras that were very popular in their heyday are also likely to hold their value to the present day.

The Rolleiflex 2.8a, a twin-lens reflex medium format camera. Image credit: collectiblend.com

For example, the Rolleiflex 2.8, among other similar cameras by Rollei, enjoyed great popularity when it was first released in the 1960s, due to its innovative design, fantastic quality lenses, reliability and usability. So much so that some photographers, professional, amateur and fine-art alike, still shoot with Rolleiflex TLR type film cameras. Thus, their value can be £1,500 or more.

The legendary Hasselblad 500c. Image credit: cameraworld.co.uk

Camera types that are associated with historically important events can also command good prices. One such camera is the Hasselblad 500C. Hasselblad has always been known for quality, but it’s this camera’s association with NASA that gives it real mystique. It was this series of camera that was adapted for use by Apollo astronauts, so they could generate a wealth of high-quality footage throughout their missions. The Hasselblad 500C can be worth over £1,200.

The Vanity Kodak, showing some of the range of colours it was produced in. Image credit: historiccamera.com

One camera that bucks the trend in terms of popularity is the Vanity Kodak. A rather quirky idea for marketing to women, “the modern camera for the modern girl” was produced in a variety of colours in order to be fashionable, from 1928 to 1933. However, with the constant change in fashion trends, the colours they were produced in soon fell out of favour. This being said, the Vanity Kodak can still fetch £300 or more – even £500 for the version that was produced with a matching makeup kit, and a mirror built into the camera’s clam case!

The Nikon FM3A, produced from 2001-2006. Image credit: kenrockwell.com

One of the more recently-produced cameras that commands high prices is a Nikon 35mm SLR from the early 2000s. To be exact, the FM3a, which can fetch up to £600. Impressive for a film camera that was only discontinued in 2006!

This is a wonderful teak cased Zeiss Ikon Nettel Tropen 6x9cm Camera, 1926-28, teak cased with Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f/3.5 16.5cm lens. Complete with its original satchel, plus matching plates, filters & accessories, this beautiful camera was featured in our November Fine Art sale. Lot 1729 achieved a hammer price of £550.

There is a plethora of valuable cameras out there worthy of mention – far too many to include them all, but if you have camera equipment that you’re thinking of parting with, our valuers at Potteries Auctions can be on hand to provide valuations and assist you in consigning them to auction.

These OM-4 & OM-2MD cameras with equipment sold in our March Fine Art sale for £150.

How to Sell Vintage Cameras at Auction

If you wish to submit camera equipment for auction, get in touch and we can help you with a valuation. Talk to our team of experts who will be able to give you an accurate auction estimate of your items. You can join us at one of our valuation days every Tuesday, email us for an appointment on [email protected] or call us on +44 (0)1782 638100 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

If you can't come in and see us in person but would like to submit items for auction or valuation, send us an email to [email protected] with details and a photograph (eg make, model, model number, measurements, condition) and one of our experts will provide information and auction estimates. Alternatively, give us a call on 01782 638100 to arrange an appointment.

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