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01-27-2012, 08:56 PM   #1
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Fake Spotmatic...or?

I just acquired an old beat-up black Spotmatic. Soldiers name and Mil# scratched into the pentaprism hood. But strangely the words "Asahi Pentax" lack the "a" and the "i".....likewise the bigger "PENTAX" lacks the "P" and the "X". In their places are small plastic inserts (see photo). Name:  Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 10.52.09 PM.png
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Serial number on the camera -2821689.

Any thought, ideas...or even facts?

Thanks for any help...
Andy

01-27-2012, 09:14 PM   #2
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Looks like a plain beaten up spotmatic to me, not reason why it would be a fake I don't think.

Adam
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01-27-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
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It's possible that the lettering assault was just an anti-theft device. When I was in graduate school (SF bay area), folks would ride their $1000 bicycles but spray paint them to look like beaters to reduce the odds of theft.
01-28-2012, 02:00 AM   #4
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Perhaps an earlier owner had mounted some kind of cold shoe on top of the mirror housing with short screws and once removed filled the holes with nylon grommets to keep the dust out. Looks pretty beat up generally!!!

01-28-2012, 05:39 AM   #5
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Probably to re-import it back into the USA without paying duty (where Honeywell was the distributor)--you often see something like this with Takumar lenses, where some or all of the Asahi Pentax (and Takumar) names have been rubbed out or blacked out.
01-28-2012, 06:22 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by macTak Quote
Probably to re-import it back into the USA without paying duty (where Honeywell was the distributor)--you often see something like this with Takumar lenses, where some or all of the Asahi Pentax (and Takumar) names have been rubbed out or blacked out.
This is a good possibility. In those years the importer-distributor for the USA would register the brand and model names as their trademarks in the US, preventing anyone else from importing. I remember hearing someone talk about having a new Leica shipped to them from overseas, and having to grind the Leica name off when they went to pay the import duty.
01-28-2012, 06:30 AM   #7
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This was definitely a professional alteration of the name - and the same was done on the lens so maybe it was a copyright issue. I thought it might be a US Army Base Exchange (BX) alteration (as the ID number was a 1960's US soldier serial number) but I bought two Spotmatics in the BX in Viet Nam but neither had this alteration.

Still a mystery.....
01-28-2012, 07:11 AM   #8
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For some reason Asahi and Takumar identifications were covered up as in my fisheye where the Fish-eye-Takumar and Asahi Opt. Co. were unrecognizable. Notwithstanding cosmetics, this is an awesome fisheye lens technically.



01-28-2012, 01:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by macTak Quote
Probably to re-import it back into the USA without paying duty (where Honeywell was the distributor)--you often see something like this with Takumar lenses, where some or all of the Asahi Pentax (and Takumar) names have been rubbed out or blacked out.
Highly unlikely...duty is based on value and is a form of taxation for revenue. The U.S. government does not enforce business distribution agreements such as the one Honeywell had with Asahi through the customs process. That would be Honeywell's responsibility through civil lawsuit in the courts against the illegal importer.

That being said, a defaced item is more difficult to assign definitive value to and might pass through duty-free. The resale value being essentially zero unless a replacement top plate would be found. I have generally figured that these defaced lenses and bodies (they are surprisingly common) are the result of individual attempts to either avoid duty or theft, or both.


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01-28-2012, 01:38 PM   #10
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This issue was not the amount of import duty, it was who owned the trademark copyrights in the USA. Back then these were assigned to the authorized importer-distributor, and anyone else importing could be found in violation of copyright.
01-28-2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
This issue was not the amount of import duty, it was who owned the trademark copyrights in the USA. Back then these were assigned to the authorized importer-distributor, and anyone else importing could be found in violation of copyright.
Again...this would have been enforced in the courts and not at the border, though it is possible that the authorized importer could get an injunction to impound an unauthorized shipment at a customs warehouse prior to entry. The bottom line is that unless these lenses and bodies were bulk-shipped to the U.S. for resale, the Honeywell vs. Asahi labeling would not have been a significant border concern. Customs agents have more important things on their mind, like assessing duty and disallowing contraband.

An Asahi Pentax camera would have been assessed the same duty as a Honeywell or Heiland Pentax camera. Hard to say what a *sah* *enta* camera would be assessed at!

As for the camera in question, I sort of like the idea of holes drilled for an accessory mount. Having used the slip-on variety, I can see the rational.


Steve
02-01-2012, 05:34 PM   #12
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I have a trio of Konica Hexanon lenses where the name ring on the lens is painted black. I believe it was to avoid some sort of import duty.
02-01-2012, 09:07 PM   #13
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Steve, however weird it sounds that was the way it was done back in the sixties. Remember too that there was much less international travel then and the size of the planes were much smaller so that customs officers did have the time to go through your stuff if they wanted to. The US distributors for most brands fought long and hard against gray market imports and yes, they did actually target individual imports.
02-02-2012, 01:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Again...this would have been enforced in the courts and not at the border, though it is possible that the authorized importer could get an injunction to impound an unauthorized shipment at a customs warehouse prior to entry. The bottom line is that unless these lenses and bodies were bulk-shipped to the U.S. for resale, the Honeywell vs. Asahi labeling would not have been a significant border concern. Customs agents have more important things on their mind, like assessing duty and disallowing contraband.

An Asahi Pentax camera would have been assessed the same duty as a Honeywell or Heiland Pentax camera. Hard to say what a *sah* *enta* camera would be assessed at!

As for the camera in question, I sort of like the idea of holes drilled for an accessory mount. Having used the slip-on variety, I can see the rational.


Steve
You're right that the duty is based on the value of the item, period.

However, the Customs service (or whatever they're called now) IS charged with stopping the improper importation of goods. Today, if you go on a Caribbean cruise and your wife brings back a knock-off designer purse, it may be confiscated upon return to the US.

I have also heard stories of people being required to deface merchandise in order to import cameras.

The laws may have changed since that ersatz Spotmatic was imported. Even businesses apparently can now import cameras in bulk, without going through the official importer. The "grey market" cameras that occasionally show up are, I'm told, perfectly legal. The official US importer, however, is perfectly within their rights to deny warranty service.
02-02-2012, 03:02 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
You're right that the duty is based on the value of the item, period.

However, the Customs service (or whatever they're called now) IS charged with stopping the improper importation of goods. Today, if you go on a Caribbean cruise and your wife brings back a knock-off designer purse, it may be confiscated upon return to the US.

I have also heard stories of people being required to deface merchandise in order to import cameras.

The laws may have changed since that ersatz Spotmatic was imported. Even businesses apparently can now import cameras in bulk, without going through the official importer. The "grey market" cameras that occasionally show up are, I'm told, perfectly legal. The official US importer, however, is perfectly within their rights to deny warranty service.
This is all true. There are statutes to protect people from counterfeit goods and customs will enforce those statutes at the border. Distribution agreements between international companies are not statutes. I don't doubt that people have defaced cameras in order to import at various times in history. I own several FSU cameras and I suspect that at various times, most might have been denied entry in much the same way as an Iranian rug would be today.


Steve
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