From Mathew Brady's Civil War photos to Ansel Adams' landscapes to Irving Penn's magazine shots, antique and vintage photographs are highly collectible. Photography was introduced in the U.S. in 1839, and immediately became popular.
Daguerreotypes dominated the field of photography until the mid-1850s. A daguerreotype is a copper plate covered with a thin layer of polished silver that looks like a mirror when held at a certain angle. By the mid-1840s, they were affordable for the average person, and it is therefore relatively easy to find old daguerreotypes today. Most daguerreotypes were studio portraits, where the subject posed for the photograph at the photographer's studio. Daguerreotypes featuring outdoor or street scenes are far rarer.
In the mid-1850s, ambrotypes replaced the daguerreotype. An ambrotype is a negative that has been put on glass and placed against a black background to make it look like a positive. Ambrotypes were popular until the 1890s. Another example of a cased image like the daguerreotype or ambrotype is the tintype, which was patented in 1856 and was made using a thin sheet of iron.
Stereoviews, also known as stereographs, were also created in the late 1850s and reached a peak of popularity in the 1870s. Stereoviews were cheap photographs that simulated a 3D view. In the 1880s, various companies decided to mass-market stereoviews that featured pictures of foreign locations to homes and schools. Stereoviews remained popular throughout the early 1900s.
In 1859, the carte de visite, which had been created in France, was introduced to the U.S. The carte de visite, or CDV, was a 2.5 inch by 4 inch print made of paper. As it was more affordable than previous forms of photography, it was accessible to a wider group of people. Many Civil War soldiers had their photographs taken and printed as a CDV.
Real photo postcards are another popular form of photographic print. Real photo postcards were made by developing a photograph onto postcard-sized photo paper with a postcard backing. They are still made today.
The most popular paper photographic print is the gelatin silver print, or black and white photograph. Gelatin silver prints have a long lifespan if well-maintained. Most 20th cen...
Scarcity, condition, and the identity of the photographer and subject all play a role in determining the value of antique and vintage photographs. Some examples of popular (and collectible) photographers include Lewis Hine, Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith, Danny Lyon, Paul Outerbridge, Jr., and the photographers associated with the Farm Security Administration, such as Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Collection of Collections
Wisconsin Historical Images
Cliff House Project
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Photographs
Source: Google News
New photo book tells Hanford Manhattan Project storyTri-City Herald, November 29th
The story of the Manhattan Project in the Mid-Columbia is told through vintage photographs in a new book written as a companion project to the historical Hanford exhibit at the Reach center in Richland. Almost 200 photos were collected to tell the...Read more
Barcelona's Women Make 'The Whispering City' ShineNPR, November 29th
aren't just those of vintage photographs, but those of a city blanched of its color and vivacity by a right-wing regime. Ana (or Aneta, as Beatriz and other family members call her) works at La Vanguardia, a newspaper valiantly attempting to stay one...Read more
Colorado gold rush history: Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, 1915Summit Daily News, November 28th
Expand Photo A train in the snow in 1898. From the Summit Historical Society Photograph Collection, Photo: Summit Historical Society Photograph Collection, Courtesy of the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archive |. A train in the snow in 1898. From the ...Read more
These Are the 116 Images NASA Picked to Share Our World with AliensVisual News, November 28th
Voyager 1 made history in 2012, becoming the first human-made object to leave the solar system and sail into interstellar space. It had been 35 years since the spacecraft was launched on a successful mission to photograph Jupiter and Saturn. But the...Read more
Toomer's Corner Packed with Tiger and Tide FansWKRG, November 27th
Old Toomer's Corner 1900 The famous drug store and its owner are featured. We found the vintage photographs on the Auburn University Digital Library collection. Sheldon Toomer opened the drug store in 1896. He was an Auburn graduate and even played ...Read more
15 Vintage Photographs Of The Times Of India Office From The 19th CenturyScoopwhoop, November 26th
Before the business got up to real-time speed with 24x7 broadcast channels and social media empowering us all to be citizen journalists, the news business was a slow, meticulous process that took time, effort, and manpower. In this series of images we...Read more
An Introduction to Collecting Vintage PhotographsPetaPixel (blog), November 19th
In 2011, a modern-day treasure hunter was browsing through an antique shop in Fresno, California. Flipping through boxes, he came across an old photograph. An unsmiling group of men, 19th century Americans it seemed, were playing croquet in front of a ...Read more
Photographs of Parisian street scenes from 1923 show city after World War IDaily Mail, November 19th
Paris is reeling from a series of brutal terrorist attacks, but these vintage photographs are a reminder of the city's enduring spirit and how it has emerged shining from dark times in the past. The images were all taken in 1923 and show how Paris...Read more