Originally Posted by marcr1230
It seems that there are "plenty" available and many are very clean
as compared to Black SP (Original) not to mention the S2
I was speculating to myself that maybe these were shelf queens as they were manufactured for the '64 Olympics in the twilight of the RF era
so my questions are
1) Is it generally the case that the Original S3 Olympic is not to hard to find in good condition
2) Why ?
Its a common misconception (which will probably never be fully cleared up) that the S3 Olympic was manufactured for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, but that's not the case. The Japanese newspaper clipping below dated 12th October 1965 states that Nikon made a reissue batch of approximately 2000 black paint S3 cameras which they started selling the previous month (September 1965) either as a set with the "Olympic" 50/1.4 or the body on its own. This batch is the so called S3 "Olympic".
The "Olympic" 50/1.4, however, was around for the Tokyo Olympics as it was released along with a reissue batch of about 1000 Nikon SPs in 1962-64 which were made due to requests from photo journalists (they wanted the SP rather than the S3). This batch of Nikon SPs have serial numbers starting with 623xxxx. See this thread
for more details.
I suspect that the "Olympic" S3 is often found in good condition because the Nikon RF era was pretty much done and dusted when it was released so they were a hard sell, and mainly went to collectors. I remember Fred (aka photomoof) saying he remembers seeing new S3 Olympics for sale as late as the mid 1980s. They could have been labelled as the "Olympic" S3 as a marking ploy to try and move them.