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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.


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 block.


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.

30th anniversary


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.



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 secrets.

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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