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Rangefinder & Light Meter Collection - Value?
Old 01-28-2015   #1
Dave S.
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Rangefinder & Light Meter Collection - Value?

I have a chance to buy a collection of rangefinders and light meters for $600 in a very nice wooden case. I'm temped, but am unsure if this is good deal or not in terms of the value of the items. Please share any thoughts you have on this potential purchase. Thanks! ( Photos below )


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Old 01-28-2015   #2
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Lovely. The chest is a high end tool box usually sold to tool and die makers. Some of the meters look to be rare but I'm no expert. Probably worth it but I don't think there are many collectors for this stuff. Let us know what happens. Joe
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Old 01-28-2015   #3
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Yep, the box might be the best part of the kit!



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Old 01-28-2015   #4
Robert Lai
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The wooden cabinet is lovely. However, the collection of meters and rangefinders probably aren't worth much. Many of the meters look like they have selenium cells, which are probably dead by now.
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Old 01-28-2015   #5
PF McFarland
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You've got 54 meters/rangefinders there, plus the wooden tool case. Cheap versions of that case can be had for less than $100, so a decent made one should be more than that. And $10 a meter/rangefinder is $540, so yes, it's a good deal. Some of those meters (BEWI, Prem, and Zeiss extinction type) are collectable to those who know what they are. Any meter in it's original box, and with instruction sheet is even more highly collectable. Folks with viewfinder fixed lens cameras are always looking for rangefinders.

Now if you're looking at buying this collection in order to sell it off, you could realize a nice profit in the long run, as long as the buyer pays the shipping. But then you may also wind up keeping some of the nicer items for yourself!

Go for it.


BTW: I've got a BEWI Automatic C just like the one in the third photo, upper right, and it's still accurate.
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Old 01-29-2015   #6
David Hughes
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It's a nice collection and the original boxes should add to the value but you'll have to do some research yourself to find individual values. Of course, if you collect meters then you ought to know and that suggests you don't and so I wonder if the thought of a bargain is the attraction. Beware in that case...

But, I'll add that they can be repaired and used but the extinction ones won't need anything done to them. Cells can be made but seldom need be; most of my repairs have been to rebalance the meters; meaning an adjustment once the case is off.

Few of them have instructions, by the look of it. That will cost a lot to get; mostly by buying and then selling on without the manuals and perhaps boxes if you are lucky and want to go down that path.

Have fun deciding.

Regards, David
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Old 01-29-2015   #7
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Maybe half that, imo? I certainly can't say that I know the 'meter market'. But having 54 meters that all read differently in a case in the living room would prey on my mind, and consequently lower their value. For me. I have three norwood directors, and a lunasix with a diode, and they all match. And three norwood directors, a gossen sixtino, and a vivitar, that don't match. My point is, what to do with the off meters if we don't need the parts?
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Old 01-29-2015   #8
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A Gerstner tool cabinet of the same design is about $800 and your image looks to have an added base with pull out tray which the company sells for $430.00

If Gerstner. Good deal at $600, but still with all the meters. Still looks like a good deal

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Old 01-30-2015   #9
formerly agianelo
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I got that same toolbox for Christmas. They're on sale at Costco right now.
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Old 01-30-2015   #10
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Maybe if your in love.

Looks like a typical garage sale find around here, ide walk past it at 20$...

Those light meters are basically worthless.

Dave, do yourself and your wallet a favor, skip it.
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Old 01-30-2015   #11
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oh **** if you open that box, all the light of the Universe will be absorbed...

i warned you!
(you better buy a flash collection as well)
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Old 01-30-2015   #12
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Looks like a very cool collection, and no one mentioned the rangefinders and what they might be worth.

Of course, you need to face reality: once you buy this set, you may not know what to do with it.

Someone mentioned that chest as a Costco product, I was surprised that Costco would sell something like that - they do, but it is clearly not the one you show. If this is a really nice, old and well-built tool chest, that could make the difference.

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Old 01-30-2015   #13
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Ah, I was briefly tempted by this collection too. We seem to be in the same geographic region...

I definitely passed on this one. The tool chest, while nice, is not an old desirable chest. It's modern and production-built. I don't doubt it could be found at CostCo.

As for the light meters...a very narrow collector's niche. So much so I don't think they have any substantial value if you aren't already a serious light meter aficionado. This was clearly a very personal collection and I believe it was assembled (perhaps casually) over a long period without much regard to value of the items (I happen to know this is an estate item being offered by a friend of the deceased).

Personally, I already have a nice tool chest for my tools (more than one in fact). I already have a few nice light meters that function well and meet all my needs. I absolutely *do not* need another collecting hobby! So, as I said earlier, I passed on this kit and would have passed at any price above $50. I did find one or two of the rangefinders attractive...there weren't too many of those however, mostly light meters.
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Old 01-30-2015   #14
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Save your money.

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Old 01-30-2015   #15
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At the risk of "piling on," I think old exposure meters are basically worthless, even if they are working. And I'll expect most of those do not. I do get a kick out of using old selenium meters -- sort of like using cameras of the same vintage -- but much more of a niche. It's rather like 8mm movie cameras, of which there seem to be a lot out there (I got several given to me recently), and for which there is no market as far as I can tell.
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