Cleaning before selling?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by joe_mcinerney, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. I posted this in the Camera Equipment forum and was suggested to post it here.

    I have my grandfathers Nicca (Leica copy) that was purchased in Japan during the Korean
    War by my Uncle. I am going to put the camera up for auction along with two stainless
    steel canon lenses. But the camera needs cleaning on the outside. I don't know about the
    inside. The question is, should I have the camera professionally cleaned prior to selling it?

    Here is the link to the original post with current responses.
  2. If you can say that everything works right now, then money spent on a CLA will be wasted. People are quick to suggest you have the thing cleaned but really, really, really slow to pay for it. Also, sell everything separately - right down to the strap and instruction book. A package, while saving you effort, will draw a lower total price. Don't expect to be paid for the sentimental attachment I sense.
  3. NO. If anything is done to it it may get broken. I once test fired a camera before I sold it, guess what? - it jammed.
  4. It is always kind of disheartening to see classic equipment being sold off piece-meal on eBay. I'm sure Stu is right that a bit more money is to be had from the practice, but it seems a shame to break up a fine vintage kit for the sake of a few bucks profit. You wouldn't sell off a classic car in bits and pieces, or peddle a fine painting separately from the vintage frame. Why do it with classic cameras?
  5. Personally, it irks me to see a seller piece-meal a camera: Body, lens, lens cap, instructions, case, etc. That comes off to me as greedy.
  6. I think the worst is when someone sells a vintage view camera, or maybe "press" camera like a vintage Makina, that takes a specialized holder, and, lo and behold, the holder is only available in a separate auction. At least give the buyer first dibs on the holder. As to cleaning, testing. Unfortunately, many bidders will prefer sight unseen. I test every lens again through its entire shutter range before I box it up, and, yes, I've eaten auctions: full refund AND lens because my pre-sale assessment was now off. But, often, if you present an item with its known flaws, it works against you. We all have a comfort level.
  7. Is a Nicca and two Canon lenses really a bona fide set? I agree if we are talking about a camera/lens combo that would have been sold together.

    As for repairs, its a waste of money. You will never recover what you spend to fix the camera. The only exception is if you buy them broken and fix them yourself. I see a lot of cameras on ebay that are supposedly cleaned, lubricated and adjusted (CLA) but I don't place much value on that unless its supported with proof and that the work was done by someone that I know to be competent.

    Exterior cleaning is easy and should be done. You can easily do this yourself after some research. Take sharp, properly focused shots of your gear from many angles and try to use a tripod instead of flash. Don't try to clean the optics if you don't know how. Scratch the optics and their value will take a major hit.

    Finally, have you considered keeping it? The Nicca is one of the most valuable Leica copies and is likely to continue appreciating. In this forum we get the odd person coming in and out looking on information to support selling a camera, but its always nice when a person can be convinced not to let the hammer drop on a fine piece of classic equipment. I for one am envious of any people that have a fine classic camera coming from their own family. My family only ever had one classic of any value but my uncle broke it and its long gone. (never hang a camera on a doorknob and slam the door!)
  8. Sell as-is, CLA is usually not trusted by a potential buyer, and the cost will never be recouped.
    Cosmetic cleaning is OK to pretty it up for pictures. I also say watch the lens elements.
    You didn't mention where you were going to put the item for sale. I would suggest here. You can just feel the way this camera would be looked after by the people who post here. On the other site, you get a lot of resellers looking for new inventory to turn.
  9. I prefer to buy a camera that's untouched. The worst is when someone in the distant -- or not too distant -- past has tampered with it. And it usually amounts to tampering, because often parts often have been or installed upside down or backward, glops of glue, etc., etc.

    I once bought a Recomar that someone had tried to pry open with a screwdriver or butter knife.

    Give me a soiled camera any day.
  10. i agree that a high-end camera and lenses like this which is a family heirloom should
    be kept, maintained, and used, rather than sold.

    sure, you'll get quite a few hundred dollars. but that's hundreds, not thousands.
    (maybe a bit over one thousand if some of the lenses are really rare and pristine). So
    what's a few hundred dollars worth? one month of rent, two, three? not much more.

    whereas a camera that you KNOW came from your family, that has a history and
    sentimentality that is worth something ONLY to you, not to me or anyone else if we
    buy the camera.

    especially in this digital age and a time of rapid technological change, things like old
    cameras should be kept in the family, and enjoyed. if you don't feel up to it yourself,
    maybe you have a niece or nephew or son or daughter or wife or husband or friend,
    who would enjoy using it. sell it or give it to them.
  11. Why stop with just the lens, strap, and instructions?

    Why not peel the leatherette off and sell that separate?

    What about the back? The screws that hold the camera together?

    There is NOTHING on eBay that irritates me more than someone breaking up stuff that is SUPPOSED to be together as a set. Well, maybe not the number one thing...that would be someone who breaks up a set, sells them separately, THEN wants the full shipment on each piece (as if he's sending them out separately). That REALLY irritates me.

    I can understand perhaps selling the body separate from the lenses. But the instruction manual? The strap? That belongs with the body.

    (Now, if its a junker....different story. Then you're parting it out to folks who need that little gizmo to make their's work.)

    My final thought?

    Don't sell it.

    In a few years, you will wish you hadn't. If you're hard-up for the cash...."sell" it to a family member. Something like this Nicca deserves better.


Share This Page