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Is Your Old Camera Valuable?

By Edited Jun 2, 2014 2 4

Do you have old cameras sitting around? Curious about what they are worth? Do a little research before tossing that old camera because it just may have some value. There are thousands of camera collectors looking for items to complete their collection. These tips should help you to find out if your camera is collectible and, if so, its value.

Your camera's value is determined by several factors including its historical significance -- for example, if it was manufactured in the first year of a new development, such as the first year that Brownies or Instamatics were produced. Historical cameras have greater value than the same model in future production years. You can find out this information easily by researching the timeline of camera development online or at the library.

Rarity is another factor when placing a value on your camera. Some models are so sought after by collectors that there are not enough cameras to go around. This increases the price they are willing to pay.

A complete package – original box, booklet and other paperwork – will fetch a higher price than a lone camera.

Inspect your camera to evaluate its condition. See if it works correctly (if you can find film for it). Look for scratches on the lens and viewfinder as well as any faded markings around the lens. Check for rust in the battery compartment and damage to the body.

Note the brand and model of the camera. High-end cameras with high quality lenses and sharp resolution have greater value than mass-produced cameras. There are exceptions – the Brownie being one of them.

Check recent auctions to see if cameras like yours have sold. Note the condition of the camera and whether any accessories were included in the sale. If everything were similar to your camera, then this would be an estimate of what it is worth.

Another way to find out the value is to visit your local camera collectors club or stop by to see the antique dealer. There may be a charge for a professional appraisal but sometimes they will just tell you whether it is even collectible. There is a book called the McKeown Price Guide that is a standard reference for camera collectors. The cost is prohibitive at more than $100 for the paperback copy but your local library may have had last year's copy donated to them. Prices on cameras do not fluctuate wildly like the stock market. Last year's prices are probably still accurate.



Jul 3, 2010 3:03pm
Good idea. I have a growing pile of used cameras. Have sold some of them on eBay in the past with very little difficulty. Your article is good info for anyone who could use a few bucks for their unused equipment.
Jul 3, 2010 3:43pm
Thinkwrite17: I'm glad that you enjoyed the article. You may get a better price, however, by listing your camera for sale on a collector's website before listing on eBay. People on eBay are looking for bargains while camera buffs are looking to complete their collection.
Sep 13, 2010 11:04pm
Good information on cameras. I have a couple old ones - think I'll check on their value. Thanks for sharing.
Feb 10, 2011 3:57pm
Good tips
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