The exciting hobby of collecting
Collecting vintage movie equipment is a neglected area amongst those
interested in movies, photographica and memorabilia. It appears that amongst
the millions of movie fans few are interested in the equipment with which in
former days the magic of the screen was created.
Taking one's own films in pre-war days was a costly affair usually reserved for the rich and privileged. Yet, there were enough people who did it on a shoestring, even going so far as to build their own projectors, which cost in those days sometimes a year's salary.
All this once coveted equipment can now be had for moderate prices. Demand is increasing and so are prices, especially for rare and wooden cameras. But prices are still lower than similar vintage photo cameras. Not so long ago one could pick up old movie equipment at flea-markets, but that time seems passed now.
Collectors are a breed apart. Many of them are retired from their jobs and have found a new fullfilment in their remaining years. I, myself, have been born in 1929, so figure out how young I am !. Our hobby makes life enjoyable. We meet people who we otherwise would never have come into contact with. Do not know what boredom is. We need all our time to study, tinker with new acquisitions, or project old movies.
Not everyone has collector's blood. Those who have may be envied. They have something that keeps them alive, strengthening the roots with the past that comes dearer and dearer as the years pass by. Their interests activates them to study and keep alive their manual skills. In short it is an excellent way to keep one young at heart and mind even at an older age. Nowadays, being confined to home and boredom because of the pandemic it is precious to have have some kind of diversion.
Internet has proved to be a great boost to collecting. One can buy a great variety of apparatus thru internet auctions like Ebay, or at some specialised auctions (see my Links page) . By email I came into contact with collectors all over the world with whom I could exchange information.
Collectors may be divided in three main classes. Those who collect:
During a matinee they would laugh their heads off or identify with heroes in their fearless battles. In the years of depression the products of the dream factories lifted the crowds out of their misery, leaving behind pictures of an ideal world. Such nostalgia becomes the soil for the urge to collect the films that brought joy.
I, myself, collect vintage movie equipment and documentary and amateur movies picturing the world in olden times. I belong to the breed of collectors who are attracted by the sheer workmanship hardly to be found in mass produced apparatus nowadays, and to the hunt for scarce pieces of equipment. Below I am giving a link to my list of more than 3000 cinematographica apparatus. Far too much for any collector or museum to display. Therefore one has to make a choice.
Concentrating on special themes has the advantage of keeping the collection within limits.
If you are looking for a neglected section choose slide projectors. Hardly anyone collects them, so they are going cheap. Some magic lanterns on the other hand are scarce and costly.
An odd thing about collecting is: which cameras/projectors are most desirable and therefore more costly ? It appears that a human psychological phenomenon is at work here: people tend to collect apparatus which they have seen in other people's collections. There are some items everyone likes to have: a Pathé Baby projector, although hundreds of thousands have been made and of the Pathé cameras as well. The Midas cameraprojector is also much wanted, but it is far more expensive than its counterpart: the Campro. There are countless other items which are rare but attract little interest as noone else has them and are not recognised. In other collectors' areas, a similar change of interest, as the years go by, is known. A thorough knowledge and experience is of great importance in discovering rare items.
At this stage I should like to introduce myself as a Dutch collector of cinematographica.
Rare equipment in practically all sizes: 4.75, 8, 9.5, 11.5, 16, 17.5, 22, 28 and 35mm. Films, in the rarer gauges and Spiral discs. Also travel, documentary and amateur films showing the world many decades ago, for making video clips for my 350,000 subscribers (and 100 million views).
I also have a list of 300 items: movie cameras, projectors, accessories in 8, 9.5, 16, 22, 28 and 35mm, and many books I have to clear for lack of space. Please email for a list, specifying your interests, and what size, to: manandu@NOSPAMxs4all.nl , but first delete the word NOSPAM from the address.
I am receiving many messages from readers from all over the world who have something for sale, are looking for an item, or who search for information on an apparatus they have. Please bear in mind that my time is limited and that I am living in the Netherlands. I have tried to answer most questions beforehand on my FAQ and other pages. Do not send a message to me for info already supplied on this site.
Click for a list of addresses of dealers who supply lamps, parts, and manuals. In another list I give the links to collecting sites in many countries, as well of musea and auctions.
Click for my "Want" list of items I am still looking for. But bear in mind that I only buy rare apparatus.
Before sending a query have a look at my 'Frequently Asked Questions' page and at my list of some 3000 vintage cameras and projectors.
For responses email to: manandu@NOSPAMxs4all.nl but delete the word NOSPAM from the address first. PLease mention the subject of your enquiry in the heading, otherwise I may mistake it for spam.
Recommended literature and related links (click)
If you cannot find answer to your questions have a look at other sites listed on this page.
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Created 1st April 1996. Latest revision 6 February 2021
© Michael Rogge 2021
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