I have a lot of original boxes for cameras and lenses. In fact, I have a closet and the entire bottom half of it is empty original boxes from photographic equipment.

I have been photographing for 30 years and never sold a lens or camera second hand and do not anticipate doing so, so keeping the boxes for a boost in resale value seems questionable. Also, how many people really want to buy a consumer grade lens from a second rate company that is 20 years old?

So, I am thinking of just chucking the boxes. Is there any reason not to do so?

  • 4
    This is not only opinion-based, it applies to things well beyond just photographic equipment.
    – Blrfl
    Aug 1, 2018 at 19:02

5 Answers 5


The only reason I can think of to continue keeping them is they'll be worth a heck of a lot more than they are now, with the original boxes, when your grandchildren want to sell them off in another 30 years:)

  • Old camera equipment seems to sell fine right now without the original boxes. Why would it be different in another 30 years?
    – xiota
    Mar 15, 2019 at 22:50

I'm going to disagree with the others and say that, as a collector, the boxes and manuals only add value when they're tied to a particularly interesting piece. For example, I've picked up an Ikoflex and paid a bit more to have the box that had a "made in Germany" sticker with a handwritten serial number. I would have paid even more had the manual been in German.

Or any old Canon that is still stamped "made in occupied Japan."

However, something like a Canon A-1 or AE-1 are a dime a dozen, and the box/manual doesn't add any value.

Do I think the value of my 20D, 70-200 f/4, or 5Dmk2 will be increased by reselling them with their collateral? No. Being in good condition, having batteries for the cameras, and lens caps, hoods, and tripod collars is what's going to increase the camera and lens value, respectively.

Tl;dr - keep em if they mean something to you or you have the space. Don't shed a tear if you get rid of 'em.


Camera equipment is worth more in resale if it has the original boxes and manuals. Buyers seem to appreciate having these extras. I'm not entirely sure why. This becomes more true as gear gets older (and boxes become rarer).

I'm also a big fan of keeping camera gear packaging during the warranty period, and a little longer. It does make packaging up your gear for warranty service easier and makes it more likely that the gear will survive the trip. (This isn't a consideration if you happen to live in a city with warranty service, but that's not most of us.)

Aside from these considerations, it's just up to you and whether you have the space or not.

I was realizing some space issues so I recycled my boxes a couple of years ago. I have no intention of selling my gear anytime soon, and my warranties were long over, so there wasn't a compelling reason to keep the boxes in my case.

  • 3
    If the seller includes original boxes and manuals, it's a sign that they took really good care of the actual equipment too.
    – wberry
    Aug 2, 2018 at 0:20
  • 1
    @wberry Not necessarily. I've seen used gear that was absolutely trashed offered for sale with the original boxes/documentation.
    – Michael C
    Aug 2, 2018 at 7:24
  • Personally, I use the presence of a box as a tie breaker for items that are otherwise identical in pricing and condition. I will not accept a slightly worse condition item without a significant price reduction just because it has a box. It can also be easier to sell items without boxes because boxes can significantly increase shipping rate. There are generally more price-conscious consumers than box-conscious ones.
    – xiota
    Mar 15, 2019 at 22:46

Even though you have never sold a used camera or lens and neverplan to, many others do.

You could probably make a pretty penny selling the boxes and documentation sans the actual cameras/lenses to others who might use them to sell their same model used gear. Some boxes have serial numbers on them, some don't. Even for those that do, many buyers would never bother to check to see if the numbers on the box and on the gear match.


I keep boxes as to me when I dispose of my excess camera equipment (yeah, right .. lol) it is an indication of a careful owner who bought the equipment new and valued it so much that even the packaging material was deemed important.

Of course this is a purely subjective argument as a lens with or without its box might still have gone through ten different owners before getting to the final buyer.

A less subjective point is that it makes shipping easier when you have the original packaging. I still have a bunch of boxed for laptops and monitors that I will use when I dispose of them.

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