Soon after I began collecting Clarus cameras with abandon, I noticed thattheir serial numbers spanned a large range, too large, I thought, to accountfor the number of cameras manufactured. Serial numbers inmy collection range from a low of 7398 to a high of 494242.
As I learned more about the chronology of MS-35 design changes, I realizedthat the highest serial numbers actually belonged to the earliest group ofcameras. Perhaps I should have seen this earlier, but eventually I noticedthat on six digit cameras, the body and lens serial numbers matched! Itdawned on me that in the beginning, Clarus assigned Wollensak's lens serialnumbers to their cameras. Wollensak was the manufacturer of Claruslenses.
My ultimate goal is todevelop a chronology of Clarus design changes. As I've added more camerasto the collection certain patterns are starting toemerge. What was not at first obvious, but now seems so, is Clarus used atleast three different sequences of serial numbers for the MS-35 camera.
A table of Clarus serial numbers appears below. You'll notice the camerashave identifiers e.g. A1, A2, etc. The identifiers were assigned arbitrarily. Camera identifiers beginning with theletter K belong to other collectors who have generously offered assistance withthis research project. Identifiers with the letter A are in mycollection.
In-depth information on Clarus cameras is sparse. This can be explainedin part bythe fact they were manufactured for only six years, and also because Clarushas not attracted a large following of collectors. Certainly a largersampling of cameras would be helpful. Yet even this small group of camerasreveals interesting information. Organizing Clarus serial numbers intothree or four groups brings some sense of order to chaos.
As with all things Clarus, the deeper one looks, the greater themystery. As I compared the cameras in my collection I thought it would bea sure bet to say that when Clarus introduced a new lens mount, it initiated Bprefix serial numbers. Not true. Back to the drawing board. I've now learned there are B prefix cameras with the old mount, and that newmount cameras without B prefix serial numbers exist. Now I'm really curiouswhy Clarus created the B series of serial numbers. Perhaps the reason wasnot related to design change at all, but driven by marketing or salesconsiderations.
Cameras with B prefix serial numbers are a nearly homogenous group. Camerasin this group may be the final MS-35 design, produced until Clarusceased operations in the summer of 1952. If so, its production life mayhave spanned fouryears. This was the most reliable MS-35 design. The variationsdiscovered thus far among group 1 cameras are minor and mainly cosmetic.
This group is earlier than group 1. There are more interesting variations in this groupthan in group1, although this is not apparent in the tableabove. To-date this group comprises serial numbers of four and five digits. I amnot aware of serial numbers with less than four digits.
As my Clarus collection grew and I compared group 3 cameras to the others,I came to think of this group as paradoxical. Obviously these camerasexhibited early features, yet their serial numbers were hundreds of thousandshigher than late MS-35 cameras. Now I know that these cameras were assignedserial numbers of their fitted Wollensak lenses. Later, Clarusdiscontinued this practice, and body serial numbers started to make a little moresense.
An interesting six digit serial number variation is camera K28 with serialnumber 726070. This camera has a new style lens mount and sheet metalaccessory shoe. It is obviously a late design. As this researchcontinues and similar cameras are found, it would make sense to breakout anotherserial number category that separates earliest from later designs. But itis too soon to make the assumption that cameras in the four and five hundredthousands are all early and serial numbers in the seven hundred thousandsrepresent later designs. An obvious question arises - are there serialnumbers in the six hundred thousand range?
I'm not sure that anything Clarus did would surprise me, but I can't imagine thatserial numbers were intentionally left off these cameras. The reason they are missing is an interestingmystery yet to be solved.
These serial numbers and production numbers are approximate. During World War II production was shifted to Siberia as the factory in Kharkiv was overrun by Nazi German forces. During this period and immediately after the war some serial numbers between 174000 - 180000 were used on cameras built in Berdsk in Siberia, even in the first few months of 1946.
I asked this on the Rangefinderforum a while back:www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54605It appears that Leica changed from the round to hex shaped aperture design sometime around ca.1950. It occurred between lens serial numbers 792XXX and 7978XX. I hope that helps!rtages ago(permalink)
Actually, there should be a clear difference between these two versions on eBay, depending on whether they have a serial number of under or over 2 809 401 - because the newer MARK II lenses are better. But since many do not pay attention to the serial numbers, there is almost no price difference. Thus the purchase of the older variant due to a cheaper price is not recommended!
I am not a camera enthusiast but have come across a Summicron R 50mm which is made in Germany and the the serial number is from 1972. Does anyone know how much this should/would go for in £ ? Any comments appreciated. Thank you.
The first IIId was believed to be a production of 1939, which was the first and the only IIId produced in a year. From 1940 to 1942, the first batched were produced until in the middle of 1943, Leica need to cease production by hiding its manufacturing tools. The second batch was resumed in 1944 with serial numbers from 367,001 to 367,325.
Serial numbers themselves 'evolved' in this period. Model Cs always had their serial numbers on a paper label glued inside under the film sprockets. Both the C-2 and C-3 had two 'types' of serial number and probably switched 'types' at the same time. The first type of C-2 serial numbers continue the design and follow sequentially the range of C serial numbers.
For all models except the Standard C-3 and Match-Matic, serial numbers appear to progress in an orderly chronological fashion (except for a gap in postwar cameras -- see Anomalies -- estimate adjusted for this gap). Therefore, estimates are based on ranges of serial numbers reported.
Estimates for the Standard C-3 and Match-Matic are presented with more confidence than before. With more data in the database, the two methods of estimation have given results that are much closer to each other. Two methods were used to estimate production. One is based on the number of these cameras reported compared to the number of postwar, pre-Standard C-3 cameras reported and the assumption that a Match-Matic or Standard C-3 is just as likely to be reported (in proportion to their relative numbers) as a postwar, pre-Standard C-3. The other is based on analysis of the sequential portion of the serial number within years and quarters.
After the early anomalies, the postwar/pre-Standard C-3 serial numbers generally progress in an orderly chronological fashion, with a pretty even distribution across the range. However, there is currently one large gap: No cameras are found in the survey with serial numbers between 1215383 and 1327528. There are enough cameras in the survey to state with high statistical confidence that a gap roughly this size really exists and is not just an issue of a small sample size.
Two cameras have been reported with serial numbers ending in 'T'. The numbers are 629nnnT and 808nnnT. Given the numeric portion of their serial number, both would be expected to be found with 7-speed shutters and no accessory shoe. Both are reported to have 5 speed shutters and later-model accessory shoes. They may have been cameras that were refurbished at the factory and given the latest features. Known examples of Argus model 21s that had their wind mechanism updated have an 'S' suffix and many Autronics, a model with known shutter issues during its lifetime, have 'A' or 'T' prefixes.
so if a "Golden Shield" is offered for sale where you can't see it, you may want to ask about the serial number -- if it looks like any of these, it may improve your confidence that you're not chasing another ordinary Match-Matic. NOTE: Ranges of lowest five digits of serial numbers of regular Match-Matics produced in last two quarters of 1960 (first five digits 18203 and 18204) overlap with those for Golden Shields of the period, so when verifying Golden Shields, make sure the first five digits are 18203. This overlap doesn't appear to occur with the 1961 cameras (18213 group).
"C-3 cameras with serial numbers lower than 64843 that have not already been converted to the 14905 Gear Train and 14860 Shutter will require a complete updating. The 14869 Body Assembly will not accept the early style gear train."
There are now 19 C-2s in the database, all having generally similar features, with serial numbers with '00' prefixes and values between 0082104 and 0084108. Another example, 0062336, fits into the current gap between the 'type 1' and 'type 2' serial numbers.
Cameras with a five-digit serial number between 00000 and 12000 with the following set of features are missing the leading '1' in their serial numbers (add 100000 to get the correct number) and were probably made in late 1946 or early 1947:
An article in the Michigan Photographic Historical Society's publication, "The Photogram", apparently dating from the late 1970s, cites a local source (probably Don Wallace or Milt Campbell) on the subject of Argus serial numbers of the period. It states that from 1958 on, Argus cameras with ten-digit serial numbers (including all C-3s of the period) have a common coding pattern. The first three digits of the serial number are the model of the camera (182 for Match-Matics, 192 for Standards), the next two digits represent the year quarter and year and the final five digits are the "unique" portion of the serial number. 2b1af7f3a8