The magnificent black XD7 Anniversary Edition in mint condition.

In recognition of the achievement of its 50th Anniversary in 1979, Minolta decided to issue a limited edition version of the XD, XD11 and XD7, which was its top of the line amateur camera at the time. In Japan, a total of 1500 XD cameras were designated as 50th Anniversary models, and were sold with either black leather, or upon special request, lizardskin such as is shown above.

In the USA, the company held a competition, and the owner of the oldest Minolta camera in each state received a special edition black body XD11. In addition, another 70 cameras were made available (presumably for business partners and valued retailers).

In Australia, a total of four cameras were sent to the Australian distributor of the day, Photimport (Australia) Pty Ltd. Of these, two were designated for executives of the distributor, one for a major customer, and one for Mr Morio Kikuchi, a Minolta service technician who had left the company in Japan and emigrated to Australia, and was heading up the Minolta service department in Australia.

    A copy of the letter sent from Minolta Japan to the Australian distributor regarding the special edition anniversary models.    

I met Mr Kikuchi after spending weeks trying to find someone in Australia who could repair a Minolta XK. Morio had retired, but at that stage was still accepting cameras for repair. I arranged to deliver my XK to him, and when we met he was proud to show me his 50th Anniversary model, presented to him for his many years of service with Minolta.

After several years and many camera repairs, Morio and I had developed a friendship, and when I asked at one stage after his XD7, he agreed to sell it to me to add to my collection.

A close up of the 50th Anniversary printing. It is noted that this print type differs from that used for the Japanese models

As detailed in the letter from Minolta Japan, the camera came with a special brown leather case. Interestingly, the case is real leather, unlike the black cases available for the XD at the time, that with age are prone to deterioration. The brown case has a brown velvet lining, and is in new condition, making one wish all Minolta cases were of similar material.

    The lovely brown leather case that came with the 50th Anniversary XD7.    

It is my belief that the cameras produced for the 50th Anniversary were made in two separate forms. The first type was produced for sale into the Japanese domestic market. These had a slightly different '50th Anniversary' logo, and were presented in a wooden case. They may not have had the brown leather case that was presented with the Australian model.

In the picture at left you can see one other variation in the XD 50th Anniversary model. The serial number has been painted white, unlike other black XD models.
The camera was presented to Mr Kikuchi in thanks for his many years of service with the Minolta family, in Japan and then in Australia. In recognition, prior to presenting it to Mr Kikuchi the camera was engraved as is shown below. I have had the base plate replaced with a new-old-stock black base plate, enabling the engraved one to be displayed beside the camera.
The engraved baseplate of the camera, since replaced with a new baseplate to return the camera to mint condition.
On the edge of the baseplate above you can see the only marks that detracted from this camera. Naturally, with the base plate since replaced, the camera is now absolutely mint in every respect.
Interestingly, the box for the XD7 50th Anniversary model is for a black XD with 50mm f/1.7 lens, not the f/1.4 lens referred to in the letter and actually provided with the camera.
The box for the camera is another little mystery. Unlike other XD series cameras, the box inserts are designed to hold a camera inside the case, rather than packaging the case seperately, as was the practice at the time. This and the fact that the Minolta letter and warranty information both refer to the provided 50mm f/1.4, while the box clearly states f/1.7, would indicate that the shipment for Australia was hand assembled, and not a standard package as would have been provided in Japan for the retail models.
The box inserts, showing the camera strap still in its original packaging. The strap is also leather, and accordingly is very different from the standard strap provided with the XD Series.

So there it is, one of four Minolta XD7's imported into Australia to recognise Minolta's 50th Anniversary.

If you own a 50th Anniversary XD Series camera, please contact me at the address listed on the 'contact me' page. I would love to enhance this page with details of other 50th Anniversary cameras out there owned by Minolta enthusuiasts.