Urgent request for Hasselblad guys with sharp knives.

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by andyfalsetta, Mar 26, 2021.

  1. This morning a good friend sent me a link to a Hasselblad 1000F listing he thought I should be aware of. He does this often and my marriage is getting weaker by the day, but he's like a brother so what can I do?

    When I first saw the listing I thought it was a little early for an April Fools joke. The listing is for a 1952 1000F for the rather princely sum of $2300. The ad goes on to talk about a Hasselblad "Certificate of Origin" and how this camera is special. Here are a couple of photos from the listing. I'm no expert but to me the only thing special is its cosmetic condition. So much of the listing seems wrong and I thought our resident Hasselblad experts would care to comment.

    Things I wonder about:
    - a Certificate of Origin?
    - a 1000F produced in the midst of the 1600F model run years? (I am aware of the preproduction 1000Fs but according to Hasselblad records included in Richard Nordin's wonderful book, and my buddy's and my research - this ain't one of them.)
    - delivery date for the camera as stated on the Certificate is BEFORE Hasselblad shipped it?
    - the veracity of the serial number engraving is highly questionable.

    I realize this sort of thing is of little or no interest to most people, and you are probably better off for it. But if you have read this far, you might agree that as these cameras get older, and more and more people with first-hand knowledge pass on, there should be an effort to keep the record straight when questionable information surfaces.

    Can anyone comment or add to this?

    1952 1000F number one.jpg 1952 1000F number two.jpg
  2. 1000F CH12190
  3. Most on-line references say the 1000f was introduced in 1953.

    However: https://www.hasselblad.com/inspiration/history/first-consumer-camera/

    Modern Photography published an artcle about the 1000f and Superwide in 1954, after testing the cameras for "months"
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  4. My 1974 The Hasselblad Way by Freytag says "The model 1000f of 1952..."

    Rick Nordin's Hasselblad Compendium says it was made in 1953, available in 1954, but also states that:
  5. Many other books, and even the factory publications, cite the 1000f being available in 1952


    Thanks for the reply and additional information. I have dug deeper and have more info to help solve the puzzle.

    But first, when I read Nordin's line: "Many other books, and even the factory publications, cite the 1000f being available in 1952", I interpret it based on the context of his very frequent "calling out" or more politely, questioning, information created for marketing purposes. My feeling is he was implying "they may have said this, but its hard to believe given everything else that is documented". I tend to think that Nordin's statement that the 1000F was made in 1953 and available in 1954 is factual. Its possible that a prototype was built earlier than 1953; I would welcome information to substantiate this. One source of data is Hasselblad's own shipping records. And that brings us to the next piece of this puzzle.

    Those who have a copy of Nordin's "Hasselblad Compendium" might agree it is the most exhaustive book on a particular camera series than any other author has been able to assemble - regarding any camera. He has done one hell of a job in my opinion. Central to many of his factual statements on the Early Cameras is data from the Hasselblad Shipping Ledger. It is within this document that this puzzle piece is found.

    The seller provides a "Hasselblad Certificate of Origin" representing a camera with a serial number of CH12190 is a 1952 1000f shipped on October 10, 1952. Considering that a "CH" prefix in the serial number is code for "1952" this would imply the camera is a 1600F. In fact the shipping ledger confirms that CH12190 was a 1600F that was shipped to Paris Photo on October 24, 1952 (14 days later than the Certificate of Origin indicates). (Could this have been the day it arrived in Paris? I doubt Hasselblad had "delivery authentication" back in 1952.) The ledger also indicates the 1600F serial number CH12190 was replaced by a 1000F with serial number 16877. A check of the shipping ledger for that serial number indicates it was shipped to Paris Photo on March 1, 1956. In addition, the shipping ledger shows the lens originally shipped with the 1600F is not the lens on the 1000F that is for sale today.

    So, what can we take from this? First, if Hasselblad really does provide a Certificate of Origin upon request, they contain six data points. On this one, three of them are dead wrong. I would really question the value of one given the first one I've seen is so horribly wrong. Second, the whereabouts of 1600F CH12190 will probably never be known. It might have been used for parts, it might have been used as a training aid or it might have been used to line a trash can at the service center in Sweden. Third, the camera in the listing is not CH12190. This camera is CP16877 with a serial number engraving of CH1290 that looks like it was done in a machine shop.

    I suspect most don't care about this level of detail today, but although this might change in the future, the facts shouldn't.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  6. Hi Andy,

    That is interesting, where did you get access to the Hasselblad Ledgers? That would be a useful resource.

    We are talking about "facts" from 70 years ago, and history has shown that there are essentially no facts that old.

    We know that early 1600f's were problematic, and many went back for service and upgrades. It is possible that the CH12190 went back for a service upgrade in '56, and came back as a 1000f, along with the certificate, due to the factory change. Or that pristine looking certificate could be fake. Or how many times the body had been dismantled and serviced, and which parts are original. But it is interesting trying to figure that out...
  7. Tom,

    I have reached out to Hasselblad to learn more about the Certificates of Origin. As you point out, it could be a fake, or if these really are produced by Hasselblad, this one might have been completed by someone who mis-transcribed the information contained in the shipping ledger. If they are real, I would like to have one for a couple of my cameras.

    The shipping ledger is held by Hasselblad in Sweden, but there are two ways to get access to the information they contain:
    1. Contact Hasselblad Customer Service (at the factory) and they will cheerfully research a serial number for you. (at least they were nice enough in the past to do it for me). or
    2. There are two versions of Richard Nordin's "Hasselblad Compendium". The first is the red cover version many of us are familiar with. In a conversation with Richard a year or so ago, he mentioned I should locate a copy of the second version of the book. These are easily distinguished from the original by their blue cover. This second version is not only valuable because it contains many new bits of information Richard learned about since the first publishing, but equally important, it includes a DVD with digital images of all the brochures, photos, price lists, manuals, etc that are presented or referenced in the book. Even more interesting with this version is that Richard painstakingly photographed each page of the ledgers while he was researching the first version of the book. He has included them in a very straightforward format on this DVD. This would include the very first Hasselblads - known as "Series One", the next version of The Hasselblad - to become known as the 1600F, and the 1000F). I have found this invaluable as a resource - perhaps you will too. I have found only one or two pages of the ledger are missing, therefore practically any serial number Early Camera can be researched with the ledger pages contained in this DVD. I would suggest that anyone who has a red cover "Hasselblad Compendium" and has more than a passing interest in Hasselblads should locate this second version.

    I have used the ledger pages when considering the purchase of a camera to understand whether or not the film magazine, lens, and body were the originals. I have also used it just as a reference when reviewing various listings on eBay or elsewhere. Call me crazy but I find it interesting to understand how many cameras out there do and how many do not, actually contain their original assigned components. The caveat is that for many different reasons, there are voids in the data. As an example, when the earliest cameras were shipped, most of them went to the USA. Rather than have Kodak ship the Ektars to Sweden only so they could be put with the camera and shipped back to the USA, many of the Series Ones that were shipped to the USA do not have a lens assigned to them in the ledger pages. The distributor here in the USA held the allotment of Ektars and issued them as needed. The data from these assignments either was never captured or it did not make its way back to the factory.. But the vast remainder of data contains full serial number information.

    In this case I used the ledger pages to call into question the very incorrect information in that eBay listing. We know that Hasselblad is the world's best medium format system camera. Because of this it was common for a photographer to have multiple film magazines, bodies and lenses and they could very easily be intermixed. In spite of this, there are many that pop up for sale still in their original configuration. From a value perspective, I would place a higher value on one that is 100% intact - as originally shipped from the factory - and I suspect most of us would as well if only we knew about the Shipping Ledger. To me it opens up an entirely new dimension about the cameras some 70 years after their introduction!

    Thanks again Tom for your interest and perspective on this.

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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  9. HI Andy,

    Thanks for the information, I had forgotten about the CD... (although mine may not have the ledger info). I've never called Hasselblad Sweden, but Hasselblad NJ has always been friendly and helpful. It is very satisfying/interesting searching out the provenance of some of these items, where they have been, who used and worked on them, and how they got there.

    Cheers, Tom

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