Boxes Are Nice…

I have more cameras and lenses than I need. Most were bought because of the Vintage Minolta Love Project (VMLP). When I bought them, my plan was to write a user experience report, keep the gear I liked, then sell the others. Thus far, three years into the project, I have written only about 20% of the intended number of experience reports and have yet to sell anything other than an early 1960s lens cap. Best laid plans and all…

In gathering gear for the VMLP, a few boxed items have found their way to me. Two are in pristine condition. Having boxed items is both a blessing and a curse. While it’s wonderful to have 30-40-year-old pieces in mint condition, the fact that they are unmarred has stopped me from using them. The result is they never leave the shelf—the antithesis of the VMLP. How to resolve this conflict???

I’ve wrestled with this issue for at least three years, and I’ve finally reached a conclusion–sell the pristine items that have duplicates and use the things that have survived with intact boxes. Having made this decision, peace of mind has returned.

While I intend to let go of some items I will never use for fear of sullying them, I still like the idea of owning the original packaging. I still like buying things in boxes because they usually come with history—dated warranties, sales slips, repair records, and such that allow one to see how they’ve traveled, the journey they’ve made. Part of me likes knowing these things.

The Minolta AF-C was a happenstance.  It was the least expensive one available at the time and happened to be in box.  It seems the owner used it, but rarely.

The Minolta A-2 was released in 1955.   It’s a simple rangefinder that makes very sharp images.  The box appealed to me because it is a way of seeing how the world was 68 years ago–like looking at an old photograph in a way.  The sales receipt is a snapshot in time.

The 35-70mm, a great lens, is a treat having original hoods AND caps. It is used enough for me to feel comfortable taking it out for a walk, but everything is still in great shape.  I get a new-ish experience without any guilt.

The Maxxum 7000 and Maxxum 9000 are in my boxed coterie because they are an essential part of Minolta history and a testament to the company’s innovative legacy.   The Maxxum 7000 helped to launch autofocus technology, and Minolta sold  a ton of them.  This 7000 is new.  It was a gift that was unwrapped and apparently never used (a piece of wrapping paper was still attached to the box held on by a determined piece of scotch tape).   The Maxxum 9000 came from Goodwill, the box from another source.

One can buy a Maxxum 7000 for less than $30.00 any day of the week. Before this one, I bought a few of the crossed “XX” models–all for less that $18.00 each.  This 7000 will stay in the box, but I am not reluctant to use it.  Together, prominently displayed in their gleaming, unmarred boxes, the 7000 and 9000 are my mini-homage to Minolta’s glory days.   When they were released Minolta was on top of the world and, to me, these boxes proclaim that success and confidence.

I will not seek out pristine items in boxes or otherwise. Those items are for collectors who will admire but never use them. Me, I like to play with my toys, and taking them out of their boxes just makes it more fun. Even when not collecting, boxes are still nice.

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