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Saturday, 11 December 2010


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"That camera must take really, really, really great pictures!"

At over half a million U.S. dollars, I'm guessing that camera won't be taking any more pictures, good or bad.

Of course you're right, Daniel.


"Go ahead, take a look at the link—I'll wait."

Please don't make me laugh like that when I have a mouthful of beer.

Ouch! And it didn't even come with a camera strap or lens cap...


You know, I just remembered: I have one just like that in the original box, tucked away in the guest bedroom closet!

that's caviar money compared to the watch world. the watch below(an 1970's patek) sold for 4 million recently.it's claim to fame is that the dial has a different color http://www.mostinterestingfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/most-expensive-watch-in-the-world-Patek-Philippes-Platinum-World-Time.jpg


I'm probably wrong about this, but I've been told by a person who loves O'Keeffe that the film used was super XX.


I'm selling my Canon S95 (also black) for $3,650.



This is not about taking images, but rather projecting one (the ability to engage in conspicuous consumption).


Reminds of the movie "Brewster's Millions" (IIRC) where Brewster buys the world's rarest and most expensive stamp (plane flying upside down) and uses it for postage. I wonder if the buyer of that Leica will ever run a roll of film through it?

An early 1950s Contax with a 50mm f/2 Sonnar, all in perfect condition was sold for EUR 170 at a photo flea market in Hamburg a few weeks ago. I had one in the late 50s / early 60s so I was able to judge if it worked. If I had only known, that AA had used a Contax., then I would have invested the EUR 170.

Over half a million dollars!!?

Yikes! Starting with an M2 and if you had the engineering drawings you could build an exact replica including custom machine work and castings for no more than that, maybe less.

Just shows that wealth doesn't buy common sense. Anyone wanting a bargain should try Camarthen Cameras right now (I have no connection with them). They have a mint Leica IIIg with 5 cm f2.8 elmar and case for the derisory price of £950. I'd be almost embarrassed to offer that sort of small change ...

...but is it art?

The original 13 rules for basketball (two, typed pages), written by James Naismith, just sold, at auction, for 4.3 million dollars!


With all the needy people, at home and abroad, it makes me sad to see money wasted in this "fashion".

Cheers! Jay

For myself, I can not come up with the words to respond with when ever I see or hear of this kind of display of someone's excess money. Just….Wow!

I am still trying to save up enough to buy myself a new Canon G12.


Yes, to me too it just seems like evidence of the decline of egalitarianism as a social value.


Now that is a word.......(egalitarianism)
Yes I even had to look it up. Cool!
Have a great day.;-)


full sized sensor is it ?

How about:

"Is there a hole for me to sick in?"
Bob Dylan

Egalitarianism is definitely in decline. At least the buyer had to bid against another rich person to get this camera. Usually the rich get whatever they want with no resistance at all.

>>just seems like evidence of the decline of egalitarianism as a social value<<

That's a bit of a stretch - conspicuous consumption is as old as history.

(Though I don't deny the decline of egalitarianism.)

What a total and complete waste of money. Golden toilet seats are good places to sit while you fondle your $400K Leica.

A lot of good could be done in the world with $400k...or your could buy an old camera.

I understand anger and resentment at someone blowing such a pile of cash on something as (generally accepted as being) silly and fetishistic as a "special" camera, particularly since we can be sure that it will never see a roll of film.

But consider two thoughts.

1. It's really no nuttier than the enormous sums spent on artworks...or watches, for that matter.

2. The money has to go somewhere, doesn't it? Perhaps in this case the seller is desperately need of a costly brain transplant.

The world is a circle. (Even for squares.)

To see the data go to http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
Where we are headed.
Photographer: Tuca Vieira
Paraisópolis Favela in Sāo Paulo

@ Jay, I personally think the baseball rules selling for so much makes more sense than this Leica sale in that it truly is a one of a kind artifact with demonstrable cultural significance, whereas the Leica's provenance may be unique, the camera is one of series production (even if a one-off variant... I didn't read it's history).

This all gets to one of my struggles with things like art or anything else 'collected'. The value is in its scarcity, but has nothing to do with its merits. If I want a Vermeer, I can either save up my allowance for a few million weeks and buy an original, or I can get a poster, or I can commission a reproduction which may be indistinguishable except to experts (which I'm not). It is silly to me that the original Vermeer may be worth millions while the original reproduction could be made for ~$10K and be, as described, indistinguishable.

I remember reading an interview with Brian Wilson and he mentioned his wonder at the fact that his album, which cost about ~$1M to record, could be had for $14, and every copy is an original.

I guess my quibble with the market for rare goods is when the goods in question appreciate after the initial artist's sale. External forces are suggesting the item is worth more when nothing else has changed.

Don't get me started on early prints/late prints debates. That would likely make my head asplode!

One thing to keep in mind WRT the people making these purchases is that the $$ involved is a rounding error in their finances. I spent far more for my $1K/month apartment in North Hollywood, than the CEO of my employer did on his 4 consecutive houses in Malibu Colony as a function of income/net worth.


I take your points, but I'd quibble with your last one. John McEnroe, the tennis player, is an avid art collector but considers himself a small player because his net worth is "only" $100 million and says he seldom spends more than $500,000 on one piece. The actor Steve Martin is also a long-term art collector and also considers himself relatively limited in resources relative to other art buyers. In fact, many devoted art collectors see their resources as limited and are always struggling to find the intersection between what they want, what's available, and what they can afford.

In many cases--at least this was true in the 1970s and '80s--photography collectors are wannabee art collectors who simply aren't as rich (that must be changing more recently as prices for top photography pieces are now reaching levels that are respectable for paintings).

It's true that many people with huge wealth dip into the art market to show off their wealth, but a lot of art collectors aren't people with unlimited funds, at least relative to the context of the collecting game.

Oddly enough, both John McEnroe and Steve Martin are people who have kept working and kept earning money far past the point at which most people would be satisfied to retire, arguably because they are motivated to earn money to buy art with. I believe Martin has said as much publicly, although I'm not certain of that. So art in those cases might be functioning as money is supposed to function: as a continued motivation for, and reward for, productivity.


What's sad is that neither artists nor Leitz ever get paid those astronomical sums. It's all that top 1% throwing their money at each other in a pathetic bid for status.

That's what's obscene. Nothing to little for creators.

Art collection is as bizarre as real estate in as much as both relay on their future value potential for the present price, and you actually never own it as a single person. Not even big art collectors; the works are usually under the name of a legal persona or entity.

In the art collection world, just as in nearly every other collection/acquisition niche in life, there's always someone higher up the ladder. If you can spend $1,000 there's someone willing to 10x that. And someone to 10x that. And so on. You suddenly realize that the damn ladder keeps extending upward. Even if you're a newly-minted Russian billionaire willing to spend $104 mil. for a Giacometti sculpture it's just a matter of time before,say, a Chinese fellow out-bids you on something else.

Steve Martin is, indeed, a devoted art collector and has been so for many years. He's hardly a nickel-and-dimer. For example, he recently sold a wonderful Edward Hopper painting at auction for well over $20 mil.

Martin recently penned a novel, An Object of Beauty, about the art world based, he claims, on his own experiences and observations. I've not yet finished it but it's pretty entertaining at the midway point.

Obsessions can get very, very expensive as soon as someone else realizes that you're obsessed.

Say that some rich person has a million dollars and they are thinking of either buying some art, an antique racecar , or some other thing that no one actually needs (ttnoan). If they buy a ttnoan, then some of the money goes to taxes , pays for all the people who facilitate the sale, goes to the artists , art restorers , art historians and academics, nicely dressed young people with MFAs and no other jobs who sit around in art galleries , antique racecar mechanics , craftsmen who can make Magneti Marelli distributer caps from scratch, etc. all of whom pay taxes , buy food , pay rent etc.
A nice side effect is that a lot of stuff like art , antique racecars, cameras etc. gets preserved and the infrastructure for their preservation is paid for.

The alternative to things that no one actually needs is usually investments that result in a greater concentration of wealth.

If you are in favor of a more equatable distribution of wealth , then you should be in favor of rich people spending money on stuff rather than continuing to concentrate their wealth.

It's something to keep in mind when you hear talk about consumption taxes.


If someone can not make up their mind between a camera they will never use and a watch of dubious utility , may I recommended this?


If that scrapbook of Hans Kilfitt photos is included it is a screaming bargain if you have the money.

I was going to go for that camera watch prototype, but given that shipping is not included in the price I decided it is no longer a bargain.

Well, I'll just say the buyer can have it. After paying that much money for a camera, you'd be deathly afraid to use it. So it's really a white elephant.

....Besides, it looks like a clumsy setup, with that elephantine motor drive and handle thing. Never really liked a motor drive on an M....

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