How do I value/sell a Rolleicord Type1

by Brian Hall on 28 August 2017

I have a Rolleicord, (inherited from a relative), and am considering selling it. Could you advise me on any reliable routes for valuation/sale? I believe it is a Type 1, details as follows: Serial No:1167865 with 75mm, f3.5 Ziotar lens, Zeiss Jena Compur Rapide. The camera is in excellent condition/working order and has original, virtually unmarked, leather case and lens cap. Any assistance appreciated, Regards, Brian Hall (Milton Keynes).

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John Wild September 6, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Brian,

I have been slow to respond but from Claus Prochnow’s Rollei Report 2, according to the serial number you have given, the camera is a Rolleicord III, manufactured between November 1950 and July 1953, having serial numbers in the range 1,137,000 to 1,199,999. There were 87000 cameras manufactured, fitted either with the f3.5 Zeiss Triotar or Schneider Kreuznach Xenar f3.5 lens. The shutter is a “Compur Rapid X” having “X” flash synchronisation.

Rolleicord I and Ia have serial numbers in the range of 00001 to 1,042,100;
Rolleicord II are in the range 613,000 to 1,135,999 or 1,758,000 to 2,124,000.

Early Rolleicord serial numbering seems to have been a bit haphazard with different versions of Rolleicord apparently randomly slotted in between but leaving large gaps in the sequences too. I am not knowledgeable in the reasons for that.

However your description does fully not fit this specification and there is a vast difference between a Rolleicord I and a Rolleicord III. Closer identification can be made by reference to photographs. See: http://www.rolleiclub.com/thedarkroom/?page_id=3288

As to valuation, it depends on whether buying, selling or just curiosity. There is a simple, but undefined equation involving many factors: value is down to a combination of quantity made minus quantity lost/scrapped (rarity); the number of people looking at that particular time; the amount of money in their pocket and their determination to get one. This can be severely influenced by condition, accessories included and provenance. There will be other considerations too, but to be concise, how long is a piece of string?

A useful reference quoting values achieved at auction in US$, together with photos can be found at http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Rollei/

Looking at Ebay, Rolleicords of that and earlier vintage sell for in the region of £40 – £70. This is generally in agreement with Collectiblend. Some do seem to sell for much higher prices. That will be due to a quantum combination of factors from above. I have experienced scenarios with other products where there may be a number of identical units ending within a few minutes of each other, selling for vastly different prices. I have also watched “used” items which are also currently available items selling for more than the purchase price of the new item complete with guarantee. Some bidders must become so fixated with winning that they do not look outside that particular box.

On the whole, a dealer will offer the least, having to supply a guarantee and charge VAT on the sale price. At auction, there is a buyer’s and seller’s fee to pay after the sale and it is sold “caveat emptor”. Ebay is similar in some ways. Of course some people love Ebay, others hate it. It does potentially have a worldwide audience and if there is something worth having, that can be a useful consideration. Prices still depend on the factors mentioned above and valuable items can be sold for peanuts. I have been a lucky purchaser on many occasions where the vendor does not fully understand what he/she is offering and the description does not attract the right viewer. I have also been fortunate that no one else was seriously watching at the time. The risk of not selling because of a high starting price has to be balanced against selling for no more than a lower starting price, but a low starting price often achieves a higher selling price. A well placed piece of bait will catch a bigger fish.

Selling by commission can be a good way to go but there may be a lengthy wait and there is the consideration as to the percentage of commission to be paid.

Rollei twin lens reflex cameras do seem to hold their price and there is even evidence of being on the increase at the moment with the resurgence in ‘real’ photography using film.

In conclusion, £50 to £60 probably would be what I consider to be a fair current estimate.

John Wild
Editor, Club Rollei User

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