In this section everyone can submit their own Minox camera which is slightly unusal or has an interesting story to tell. No matter how small, if you think it is interesting please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.The first entry comes from the Minox Museum with camera 1330901023 - Earliest survivor?
Sold in 2004 Minox No.01023 is currently believed to be the earliest known production camera in existence. In total there are currently only 5 known survivors of the "Club 100" (No.01000-01100). It was bought second hand in Seattle in the 1950s and was used in a police corruption investigation. According to the seller it has never been used thereafter and lay dormant for over 50 years.
This camera has all the features of a late stage Minox (larger lens window, diagonal Minostigmat engraving, 1 top plate screw, coarse polish etc, etc), yet it features a back plate with pat.app. and a the very early VEF Minox logo. In addition it has a low serial number of 01401 without the usual "No" in front of it. I have seen that in one instance the previous owner filled in the first digit of a serial number with black lacqer or varnish. In that instance 165xx became 65xx (i forgot to record the exact number). However this is unlikely here as there is a "0" in front of 1401. So it looks much more like new engraving into a blank camera body. If it - had - a blank camera body, then we know from post-war Minox assembled by Minox Germany, that they featured a blank back plate. Minox Germany used the blank back plate to engrave their new german Minox logo. To me it would have been a rare and exiting camera in its own right. It is an extremely late example of a functioning post-war Minox. Maybe it was assembled by Minox Germany!?. However some owner prefered the look of the first logo and engraved it together with the fantasy serial number onto the minox. Maybe even the same person who may have assembled it. To me its a shame. Submin recorded that it exchanged hands in 2008 for one thousand dollars. It now frequently appears on ebay Germany. I wish someone would have pitty and exchange the back plate to a blank version.
No.09148 features here as an example for the very late batch of imperal Minox cameras. It is actually the second last known surviving imperial VEF Minox camera. Sadly I have no pictures of camera No.09459 which is the last imperial version known to exist. Export versions featuring imperial distance scale dials were very popular and frequent. Large batches were made in the 1,2,3,4,5 and 6-thousand series. However, then production stopped!
Yet a batch of very late export cameras appear. These include No.08917, No.09047, No.09064, and the more distant No.09418 and No.09459. It would be very interesting to know why the production of export cameras almost stopped but then for a brief interlude during russian occupation started again. The USSR (and occupied sowjet Latvia) had normal trade relations with the USA and the rest of Europe (even Germany until they turned against Russia). Was it a commercial reason to start the export camera production again? Or was it a diplomatic reason? A special war-effort of the USSR, supplying its allies (UK/USA) with minox cameras? Very interesting!
Indeed one of the rarest cameras are those which have been assembled by Minox in West Germany after WW2. Some cameras which have been assembled luckily recieved the Modern Minox logo (No VEF) and some were hand-inscribed "Germany". Some even feature both. So how does 13255 fit in? To 99,9% certainty this camera was made by VEF in Latvia. However it is also clear that after the war it has been send to Minox in West Germany. It now features a modern West German 3-toothed film advance spool. This is not unusual. Many old cameras that came in for repair were upgraded by Minox West Germany. It seems that a lot of Minox Rigas recieved a modern film advance spool. Uncommon however is that they would inscribe the camera "Germany" as the camera was not assembled by them and rather only repaired/upgraded. Was this maybe done to market/promote the young german company very early after the war? Or was the camera owner a german minox worker? Very unusual.