NEWS and VIEWS
Over the years Hasselblad has come out with special versions of their
cameras. They sure look pretty and have found a very special place in the
Hasselblad aficionado's display case.
Ric Nordin has identified those cameras in his book Hasselblad System
Compendium and through his kind permission and that of Hove Press we are
reproducing his chapter on these cameras.
Limited production cameras with special features have been issued on several
occasions to commemorate particular events. They are generally individually
serial numbered as well as having the normal serial numbers. The first of
each series was retained by the factory for display in their museum.
This special camera was issued in 1974 to mark the 25 years since the
introduction of the 1600F. This is a series of 1500 cameras (1 in black,
1499 in chrome) and is basically a 500C/M with a hallmarked sterling silver
plate affixed to the left side of the camera body. The plate has Victor
Hasselblad's signature engraved on it and an individual serial number. The
film magazine and the lens (a black T* 80 mm Planar) have no special
distinguishing markings. The bodies are in the serial number range UP
148xxx-UI 155xxx- not a single block of serial numbers. The film magazines
used were made in 1973 and 1974 and the lenses generally in the serial number
block 565xxx (1973).
This camera was delivered in a special gold box with a blue and gold cloth
strap over the box with two red seals on it. Inside the box were a
commemorative booklet (with a serial number seal) and a card with a photo of
Victor Hasselblad and his signature.
10 YEARS ON THE MOON
This is a special issue EL/M body made available in 1979 to mark the tenth
anniversary of the moon landing. These bodies are distinguished by a small
emblem on the front of the motor drive housing with an individual serial
number. The lenses and film magazines have no special markings. There were
1500 cameras assembled in this special edition (the first 1000 in chrome and
the last 500 in black). The bodies and the film magazines generally have
date codes of UR (1978) and UE (1979) in the observed range 1313042 to
1313793 for bodies and 3133434 to 3142683 for magazines. The lenses are in
serial blocks 607xxx (1977) and 612xxx (1978).
20 YEARS IN SPACE GRAY EL/M
In contrast to the subtle modifications of previous commemorative cameras, a
very spectacular camera was designed to mark the 20th anniversary of
Hasselblad's participation in the US space program (1962-11982).
This camera was a chrome EL/M but with a light gray rather than black vinyl
body covering. The camera has a hallmarked sterling silver plaque on the
left side of the body with the serial number of the camera in the series.
There were 1500 bodies produced. The observed cameras are in the serial
number range RH 1321743-RH 1323070 (1981) and may be in a single block of
serial numbers. The film magazines (distinctive with their gray vinyl) were
also made in 1981 and range from an observed RH 3212111- RH 3223499 and the
lenses generally in the serial number blocks 619/620xxxx (1979), 626xxxx
(1980) and 638xxxx made in 1981.
The camera was packaged in a special (predominantly) gold box with a
corrugated cardboard out sleeve with the serial numbers of the body, back and
lens. The camera included with it a special certificate explaining the
occasion and noting the serial number.
This commemorative camera was issued in 1985 to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the founding the Hasselblad family wholesale company in 1885
and thus 100 years in photography. This group of 1500 cameras was sold in a
distinctive wooden display box.
Most cameras seen appear to have been assembled in 1984 with an observed
serial number range RI 1520525 to RI 152081, and gold film magazines made in
1984 or 1985 (observed range 3264758 to 3306051). The 80mm F lenses (which
come with a gold filter bayonet ring) are in the 587 series number block
(5873642 to 5879122 seen).
The regular production FC/M ends at serial number 1519994 but this block of
commemoratives seem to have 1520xxx serial numbers so they may have been
added onto the end of the "normal" FC/M serial number block in one contiguous
Another spectacular camera was issued in 1987 to commemorate the 30th
anniversary of the 500C. This was a standard 500C/M but with all the metal
surfaces which would normally be chromium plated having gold plate. There
were 1400 of these cameras produced each with a gold serial numbered plaque.
The lens is distinctive since the filter ring is also gold plated.
The bodies appear generally to have been assembled in 1987 and the magazines
made in 1987 (RU) as well. The distinctive 80mm CF lenses appear to be
primarily from the 686xxx and 695xxx serial blocks.
This camera was issued in 1991 to commemorate Hasselblad being camera
manufacturers for 50 years (the first military cameras were made in 1941).
The camera is particularly distinctive with a dark blue vinyl covering on it
gold plated body and magazine. Only 700 of this series were produced.
GOLD SUPREME 503CW
The gold 503CW is the latest edition of commemorative cameras made available
by Hasselblad. There were 500 made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of
the first Hasselblad camera, which was introduced in 1948. It is complete
with all visible chromed details plated in 24 carat gold. The camera is also
unique in that it is finished in an elegant burgundy colored leatherette
trim. Each camera bears a gold plate engraved with "The System 1948-1998."
The camera is presented in a custom built burgundy colored leather case and
is accompanied by a jubilee booklet, a certificate and a special gold-plated
key ring also bearing the serial number of the camera.
Perhaps, at this time, we should point out the "secret code" that was
employed by Hasselblad to identify the year of manufacture of the body and
film back. No special decoder ring is necessary and since the code is known
to anyone who ever asked about it we don't think we're giving away trade
V H P I C T U R E S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
Each letter has a corresponding number assigned. Thus RE would represent
1989. UV would be 1971.
Surprisingly, no special code was assigned to the lenses. However, Ric
Nordin has researched this matter and reports on the manufacturing dates of
many of the earlier Hasselblad lenses in his book.
More News and Views -
* For a history of the Hasselblad Superwide - click here
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