A Hasselblad case good enough for those who could afford the very best. As I recall the one of my contemporary Rockefeller--Winthrop Rockefeller, "Junior".
I have long been a big Hasselblad early V Series fan. I have owned a fleet of 500's--C's, CM's, EL's, ELM's. I was a user back in the day, and although I have generally moved on by now, using mostly digital cameras for my current work--I still feel very secure with these old film cameras. They were built with mechanical precision offering a balance and feel that inspired confidence in what has been called human-engineering. The term is used to describe precision and user intuitive interaction. Hasselblad approached the market as a high-end alternative to Twin Lens Reflex Medium Format Cameras of the time--namely Rolliflex and the numerous emulators. They borrowed from the designs of the up and coming 35 mm Single Lens Reflex Cameras with interchangeable lenses.
The company formed by Victor Hasselblad chose to emulate many of the marketing practices of the day used by other high-end camera companies. In addition to Rollie, they obviously looked at another highly respected Lieca camera company in their model for marketing and support. A big part of this was packaging. Packaging and all the dressing and frills of the high-end image. And this they successfully did. This is the reason such things as this custom-fitted camera cases for these cameras came about. Such camera cases never had much real utility. Few working photographers used them. Some bought them in a package deal or kit as they are now being called, but most of these were either bought as a consequence of a display model having one--to make it as pretty and as lush and as expensive as it possibly could--in order to help justify the hefty price-tag.
A few others of these cases were custom ordered by well-funded hobbyists or others who wanted the best and wanted it all. I recall working as darkroom technician and general flunky for a hometown photographer who was doing some publicity work for Winthrop Rockefeller, one of the brothers who had settled atop Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas with a cattle farm and agriculture research center and who became the frist Republican governor. His son, whom we affectionately called Winnie, was just a few years older than I. He was a pleasant enough fellow. I recall him bringing his new Blad around. I was not envious, I was just dumbfounded. I think I even had to refresh his memory on how to unload one of the 120 film backs.
Winthrop Paul Rockefeller [although he was the only son of Winthrop Aldrich Rockefeller, he was never a Junior] explained to me that he did not have then entire set-up with him, but even so, it was decked out in a large brown leather Hasselblad case. Within was a sparkling chrome (they made a few gold-plated models) 500 CM--inside another camera cover like the one shown here. It had a normal 80 mm lens attached back and a regular waist-level finder. It all fit nicely within the purple velvet inside the leather case. It was just like the one I have in my collection--the one pictured here. I have had several other variants, but mine now, and his then, are the only two such leather covers like this one that I have ever actually seen. You don't even see many pictures of these--but there are a few references that show them. I know they are very hard to come by as in rare. This is not hard to understand. It was only buyers like Winny Rockefeller--who, as the sole heir to his dad's share of the vast Rockefeller wealth, could have anything money could buy.
I have always felt a little sorry for Winny. I am not sure why. He was educated all over the world--materially blessed with all the advantages of privileged. He became a successful politician and the Lt. governor of Arkansas. He would likely have followed in his father's footsteps to become a governor of Arkansas, had it not been for being stricken at a relatively young age with a rare blood disease. To me, he just always seemed a little insecure and lost. He was the same age as my next oldest brother--four years my senior--and had everything, but still, I felt sorry for him.
But I did not feel much sorrow for him at that particular moment. It was hard for me to conceive of this kind of wealth. It still is. I recall seeing a Forbes list near the end of his life that showed him as 286th or wealthiest individuals). He was a nice enough guy, if a little odd in my estimation. Why wouldn't he be? I was also very sorry to hear of his death in 2006. I reserve a special place in my heart for his father--who, inspite of whatever personal faults he may have, was the first Republican to break the long-standing corruption then associated with the Democratic political machine of Governors in Arkansas, including another colorful character I knew--Orval Faubus--of then 1959 Central High civil Rights fame. Governor also did much to root out the over-the-top lawlessness and gambling in of 1960's Hot Springs Arkansas.
Here is an iPhone shot of the case that I now have, which I am about to list on eBay. Isn't it funny that I have resorted to iPhone images for such things. Hey, I have always been a practical guy. Check it out.
Note: I sold this case on eBay; I had been offered a good bit more than I got for it, so it was just a matter of timing and the luck of the draw. I am glad the guy who won the bid got it, however. He provided additional information about the origin and history of this case. Here is what he said: Hello PapaD, Many thanks for your message, I am indeed looking forward to the case, you're right it is a rare case, but was issued only for the Hasselblad 1600f, although the 1000F will fit also, it probably should have achieved a bit more cash for it than it did. These cases were made in America for the American market and not really available in Sweden, they had their own version in 1949/50 called 'The Swedish Sheath case' and maybe all the 1600F collectors have already got one, the American version was called 'Domestic Sheath'. Anyway enough of that, but thanks also for the pics of packaging etc, much appreciated. I will check your other items also. Kind regards & best wishes, Robbie.