All you guys who say you like to buy used cameras missed a good one the other day—
The third Nikon, a Nikon I from 1948 engraved "Made in Occupied Japan" in English, sold for $406,000 at Westlicht the other day. Doubtless some hardworking wage-earner needed a user...and probably likes the camera's unusual 3:4 ratio (these were 24x32mm if memory serves. Buyer shoots Micro 4/3 in digital, no doubt).
Seriously...a lot of money for an historical artifact. Roughly half a lifetime's earnings at the present minimum wage in my state. The remarkable price is probably just more evidence of "too much capital sloshing around the world," in Niall Ferguson's memorable phrase. Heck, for that kind of dosh, you could almost afford a bargain used Porsche. (I assumed at first that the article at the link was tongue-in-cheek, but no.)
It's the earliest Nikon known to exist. I'd like to look at it in a museum. Maybe the buyer will leave it to the George Eastman in his will.
Another reason to hang on to your old cameras! Although, come to think, I have an old Nikon I'd let go for slightly less, and no takers. You know what they say: Oh well.
(Thanks to John Camp)
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Eamon Hickey: "Photo dawg brain teaser: Although that may be the oldest Nikon known to exist, it is not the oldest existing camera made by the company called Nikon. Say what? Well, 'Nikon' was, in those days, simply a brand name created by the company Nippon Kogaku. And Nippon Kogaku made a variety of aerial reconnaissance cameras for the Imperial Japanese Navy going back to the 1930s. The U.S. Smithsonian Air and Space Museum happens to have one of the relatively few that survived the Second World War."