Historic antique photos appraisal




Linda says:

I have a collection of photos with negatives taken I believe between 1900 and about 1945. There are historical sites (many on the east coast) , many artistic shots, lots of theater shots, some advertising shots, and just some just plain family shots. Without actually counting them, I’m guessing here are over 500 negatives with prints and many other photos of various sizes. Several were exhibited in salons all over the world some are signed and dated also the journal in which the salon exhibits are detailed along with newspapers and private letters documenting such. Charles Phipps was the photographer and he belonged to the Chicago Camera Club. He was also a theater actor and part time commercial photographer.
I’m curious where can I start on getting a ball park figure as to what this collection is worth and the best avenue to use selling it.
Thanks for your help.
AW says: First let me say, from the pictures you’ve sent me, these look like cataloged prints of photos not the actual photos themselves. But that opinion is based on what I can see, maybe it’s just the way the scans of your pictures look on my computer.
If indeed you have the actual photos, this collection sounds very interesting and it would have excellent historic value. If what you have are actually paper prints of the photos themselves, I’m afraid you’d only get at most about 3 to 5% of what the real photos would be worth, if you could find a buyer.
But for now, this appraisal is based on the assumption that these are real photos, based on your knowledge of them and the fact that you have them sitting in front of you and I do not.
That you have negatives helps better because these can be made into prints.
It also helps that you have the provenance, and that these were displayed and shown professionally in the past, and of course some of them being signed and dated is also a big plus.
I’m glad you only asked for a ballpark figure, because with such an extensive collection, I can really only guess at the relevant content. You’ve done a great job in your description, and sending the 3 sample pics to me, but obviously this collection has a lot more detail than we can go into here.
If you have the real photos, I’d say that a range of $5000.00 to $10,000 could be achieved easily at a reputable auction that does a good job advertising them. But please us caution, as this is an average of $10 to $20 per photo, and any rare photo of an important event could be worth many times more than that.
If you don’t have any luck with auction houses, I think you should market them on eBay if you are eBay eperienced or know someone who is and can help you.
Thanks for an interesting question and let me know how you make out.