Argus Production Camera Rarities

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Copyright 2008-2017 Phillip G. Sterritt

Last modified 6/3/2017

Items are listed in decreasing order of rarity, where known.

email Phillip G. Sterritt

White Model A (1936)

White Model A
No known examples -- image shown is an utterly amazing 3D-printed creation by Mike Reitsma, Pam Buckley and Anupam Pathak. Arguably the Holy Grail of Argus collecting. Mentioned in very early articles about the Argus A and at least one IRC ad, color described as "ivory and gold". Some have speculated about the suitability of white plastic to camera bodies. While it's unlikely that the dense Durez plastic used would be transluscent, a white finish could cause reflections in the area between the lens and the film, leading to inferior-quality images.



Black C-3

A former Argus employee reported a black-finished C-3, including black-finished lens, was made. No known examples.




Black military version of A3 (1942?)

Black military version of A3
Pictures of two appear in the 1942-43 IRC annual report. No known examples. An example may have been displayed at an Argus booth at a late-1970s trade show. Image from Joe Horvat collection.



Gold-plated C-3 (1950s)

Golden Anniversary C-3 Gold-plated C-3
One (above, from March 1950 Argus Eyes) produced as a promotion to honor the 500,000th C-3 produced; one known example (below), made to honor a long-time Argus employee. There may have been others. Unknown production. Any new example would only be valuable with Argus-related provenance.



White Model 75 (1950s)

White Model 75
One known example, in Argus Museum, Ann Arbor Michigan.



White Model Super 75 (1950s)

White Super 75
One known example. Photo by Bob Kelly.



Model M Christmas Kit (1939)

Model M Christmas Kit Model M Christmas Kit
Top, Camera and accessories in a fancy box including Arguspan film -- no known examples, unknown production. Also (below), a simpler box with 'Merry Christmas' labeling, holding camera only, one known example from Joe Horvat collection.



Arguskit (late 1930s)

Arguskit
Model A camera with full set of accessories in wooden case -- unknown quantity made. Advertised; no known examples.



Argus cameras and Photar meters labeled "Minca" (late 1930s)

Prewar Minca products - C-2 Prewar Minca products - C-2 box
One known example of a C-3, another of a C-2 reported. The C-2 and C-3 are labeled "f3.5 - 50mm MINCA CINTAR Made in USA", as shown in top photo. Advertisements from British photography magazines of the late 1930s show that Argus cameras and the Photar light meter were sold under that name in Great Britain. Bottom is an example of the original box for the Minca C-2 -- any such packaging increases the value of an associated product distinctly, and is rare enough to be valuable on its own.



Model 21 lens with focus scale in meters and feet (late 1940s - early 1950s)

Model 21 with metric focus scale
Cameras in the known examples are identical to ordinary production models. A few known examples, unknown production. Image from Joe Horvat collection.



Argoflex II (1947-1948)

Argoflex II
Unknown quantity made. Seven known examples; four known variants (some may be prototypes), with and without automatic film counter.



Black C-4 (1952?)

Black C-4
Eight known examples, all of which have features that suggest they date from 1951 or 1952. A former Argus employee said the black cold-anodized finish and selectively-copper-plated internal parts were intended to handle outdoor environments better than the standard model. He also recalled seeing some with government contract numbers, and believed they were intended for the Army and Navy. Whether they ever became official military models is not known, and no known example has any government contract number.



C-2 or C-3 sold as set with Bausch & Lomb 75mm telephoto (1939)

C-3 with Bl 75mm telephoto in box
Box labeled as such -- one known example, unknown production, but obviously well under 1,000 (total production for all the B&L 75s)



C-4 re-covered in textured or colored leatherette. (early-to-mid 1950s)

C-4 re-covered in textured or colored leatherette
The Argus subsidiary in Cheboygan, Michigan that made cases for cameras and projectors provided this service; Geiss-America did as well. A few known examples, unknown production. Example from Joe Horvat collection.



C-44 and C-44R briefcase/presentation kit (mid 1950s)

C-44 and C-44R presentation kit
C-44 or C-44R camera in high-quality leather briefcase with all accessories. Some kits may have been given to Argus executives or valued dealers. Bob Kelly found an Argus dealer catalog listing the briefcase available on its own. Unknown quantity made. Several examples known to exist. There may also have been a C-4 version.



"No Name" Camro outfit (late 1940s)

No Name Camro outfit
Camro 28 with faceplate blacked out, brand name obscured on box and instructions, no logo on body. Unknown quantity made, several known examples. (Many Minca 28s and Delco 828s have a blacked-out 'Camro' logo under their faceplate, so only an outfit complete with box qualifies as a "No Name" Camro.)



Model B (1937)

Model B
Probably 1,000 made.



Model C with 'f-s' switch and dual-range shutter speed dial (1938)

Model C with 'f-s' switch
The original Model C. 1,000 - 2,000 made before the shutter was redesigned to have a single range and no switch.



Wardflex (1941)

Wardflex
Unknown quantity made. Several known examples. Presumably a contract with a company as large as Montgomery Wards would be for at least 1,000 cameras and they were advertised by Wards.



Model K (1939)

Model K
2,000+ made. Early illustrations show cameras labeled 'EXAR' or just 'K' (instead of 'Model K'), if these exist they would be extreme rarities. One known rare variant has a metal 'Argus' tag riveted inside the film compartment above the serial number.



"School Use" C-3s and Super 75s (1955-1957)

School Use cameras
Kits with two Super 75s and one C-3, with badges marked "For School Use", distributed to high schools in U.S. Maybe a couple thousand C-3s or so, twice as many Super 75s. No known complete kits.



Golden Shield Match-Matic C-3 (1960-1961)

Golden Shield Match-Matic C-3
Approximately 2,500 made, for sale in the Christmas buying seasons of 1960 and 1961. Around 80% of these made in 1960. The 'eveready' case with 'Golden Shield' logo is even less common and the original box and instructions for these are exceedingly rare.



Brown model A (1936)

Brown model A
Probably a few thousand made. Much less common with tripod socket and thick rewind knob.



'Model Argoflex' (1950)

Model Argoflex
(Argoflex 40 with no 'Argoflex' or 'Argus' logo on body above viewing lens) -- Unknown quantity made. Several known examples. Original box and instructions refer to this camera as 'Model Argoflex', so they add to the value and rarity.



C-4R (1958)

C-4R
C-4 with rapid-wind lever and rewind crank, accepts CM-2 meter. Roughly 6,000 made.



Model Seventy Five with 'Time' above 'Inst' (1949)

Early Model Seventy-Five
Earliest Model Seventy-Fives had the 'Time' shutter setting above the 'Inst' setting (left). Later examples have 'Inst' above 'Time' (right). Unknown quantity made. Both from Tom Heckhaus collection.



Autronic C3 (1960)

Autronic C3
(Autronic 35 labeled 'Autronic C3') -- Several thousand made.



Australian Model 75 (1950s)

Australian Model 75
Reportedly 50,000 made of all varieties, but uncommon even Down Under. At least three variants; two-format model (6x6cm and 4x4cm image size capability) least common. All are labeled 'Made in Australia' around the taking lens.



Gray or Olive model A (1936)

Gray model A
Not nearly as rare as the brown, but distinctive and desirable. All bodies are basically the same color but several variants across lens faceplate, back material and back design coloration. Probably the least common has a dark 'gunmetal' finish to the metal parts, with white paint fill on the design on the camera back.



Argus Closed-Circuit Video Camera (early 1960s)

Argus Closed-Circuit Video Camera
Few known examples, at least a couple of variants, identical camera sold with Sylvania badging, unknown production.