What’s it Worth? Appraisal of Antique Photographs

Judy asks:



Hi Walt,

I am wanting to know the value for some antique photos. I would like to
donate the photos to the historical society (Colusa County, and to
California Historical Society), and would like to have some idea of their
value before I do so.

Photos 1-20 (titles are above the pictures) are individuals from the
Colusa County, California area, circa 1880-1910. There are about 100
photos. My sample includes ones I’ve already scanned – no rhyme nor reason
to the ones I picked out to show you. A few are on metal. Most are on
heavy cardboard. Many have a photography studio imprint.

Studios in
Colusa, Sacramento, San Franscico. I’ve done some research on ancestry.com
looking in census, military, vital records and confirmed that these people
lived in Colusa County during this time period.

Photos 21-32 – these are a sample of photos from the Mountain House area,
and of the August Schuckman family that ran the Mountain House stage and
freight stop for decades. The Mountain House was 20 miles West of Williams
CA (in Colusa County).

Of interest is that Ida Schuckman married Edmund
Brown and was mother to Gov Edmund Brown of Calif, grandmother to Gov
Jerry Brown of Calif, and mother to Harold Brown, Chief Justice of Calif.
There is 1 photo of her, one of Edmund and Harold as kids, one of Harold
in uniform.

Also, there is a photo of a diary by Louis Schuckman (who
married Ida Dillion), photo of Louis and wife Ida, and of the hotel that
they ran. The diary spans a couple years in the 1890s and is prophetic in
that he writes about their ailments and feeling that he was going to die.
Both he and wife died in their 30s, not long after these entries

The appraisal can be public, but I’d like to keep the access to the Kodak
album private.

I have attached a couple of the photos to this email, as well.

Thank you for your help!

AW says: (Readers should note, that this appraisal is based on an entire photo gallery that I’m privy to, but was asked not to make public, access to that gallery)

That is an interesting batch of photos. The metal ones are called “tintypes” and some of your ones are hard cardboard are called “cabinet cards”.

Of the lot, the most interesting are the Cowboy, the wagon train or muletrain, the man on the roof, the ones with children, (especially the young boy in the tophat) the Riverside hotel and of course the diary also.

Date range: 1880-1910



Retail value: (For the collection) $300-$400 Because you have documented provenance, if you were able to find a descendant of one of these families that wanted some of these, you could get a premium for those particular photos.
(top price)

Wholesale value: $125
(The mid range price you could expect to achieve at a well advertised live auction. The price that is most often realized)

Quick sale value: $75
The price your likely to get if you have to sell your item immediately and your prospective customer is aware of this.

Common terminology, nicknames, keywords: Antique photos, tintypes, cabinet cards, victorian, edwardian, cowboy, wagon train.

Care and storage tips: These should not be overly subjected to harsh light. Antique photos can fade and deteriorate under such light.