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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Collection of Collections

Collection of Collections

Jack and Beverly Wilgus' personal collection website, of which the most interesting areas are: strongmen and strong… [read review or visit site]

Square America

Square America

If you like vernacular photographs of everyday 20th century life, you'll love Square America, a collection of onlin… [read review or visit site]

Wisconsin Historical Images

Wisconsin Historical Images

The Wisconsin Historical Society has really outdone themselves with these excellent galleries focused on the 1880s-… [read review or visit site]

Cliff House Project

Cliff House Project

Gary Stark’s encyclopedic website is dedicated to photos and historical information on San Francisco’s legendar… [read review or visit site]

Time Tales

Time Tales

An amazing compilation of found photographs divided up by era (pre-1930, 1930-1950, 1950-1970, 1970-1990, and 1990-… [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

A Very Unusual German Folding Stereoviewer - Stereo Viewer StereoscopeVintage 1953 Rare Marilyn Monroe Photograph Large Milton Greene Nude SittingMahogany Stereoviewer By Unis Paris France - Stereo Viewer StereoscopeBeatles Vintage Early 1970's George Harrison Signed Photo! Frank Caiazzo CoaStar Trek #1 Cgc 9.0 Ow/w Photo Cover Gold Key Silver Age Comic Tv Movie19thc 6 Views Boxed Double Mechanical Rack Chromotrope Magic Lantern SlidesCirca 1860's Civil War 1/9th Plate Tintype 2 X Armed Union Artillery SoldierLarge Collection Of 600 Antique Glass Plate Stereoview Stereoscope Negatives Antique 1/4 Plate Ruby Ambrotype Of Civil War Soldier Captain Richard Lowry'64 Marlene Dietrich Edinburgh Festival Photograph Peter Basch Large Hand SignedVintage Maude Fealy Pictorialist Photograph Rudolf Eickemeyer Art Nouveau C 1910Large Format 1946 Gene Tierney Exquisite Beautiful Photograph Regal Vintage RareRare Carole Lombard 1930s Art Deco Glamour Portrait Photograph Hollywood Regency1934 Rare Bela Lugosi Moody Horror Portrait Photograph Large Format Carl Devoy Alexander Gardner Antietam Tintype Gen. Caldwell And His Staff Civil WarHalf Plate Daguerreotype Woman In Excellent Leather Travelling Case1962 Barbara Eden Bathing Beauty Blonde Bombshell Photograph Cheesecake Pin UpCa 1860's Civil War 6th Plate Tintype Union Soldier W/painted Flag On BackdropEarly Young 1930s Lucille Ball Photograph Pin Up Art Deco Very Rare LipstickS. Yamamota Peking China Chinese Woman Photo Cabinet Card (c. 1890s)Philippe Halsman Vintage Marilyn Monroe Iconic Life Outtake Double Weight PhotoLarge 1860’s Thermoplastic Mutable Image Union Case - Named - IllinoisAlbum Lot 600+ Vintage Pre-ww 2 Photos Germany Nazi Era 400+postcards Uk/germanyRare Autographed Gt-h Shelby Collectible Hertz Photo Book R.h. Lesesne Florida Orotone Goldtone Photograph Signed Pie Crust Frame1917 Theda Bara Cleopatra Erotic Silent Film Vamp Photograph Witzel Rare VintageAntique Tintype Civil War Photo 5 Solider's W/ Weapons1920s Erotic Flapper Art Deco Photograph Lola Salvi Vintage Autrey Fox FilmsCivil War Soldier * 1/6 Plate Tintype * Leather CaseCa 1860's Early Civil War 1/6 Plate Ruby Ambrotype Armed View Union Sergeant1910 Color & Photo Illustrated €Dated 1864 Civil War 6th Plate Tintype 2x Armed Union SoldierBeautiful Loving Identified Daguerreotype Of Mother And Candidly Posed Daughters78 Glass Stereo Slides Of Sweden, Stockholm, The Gota Canal And Norway.1900 Rare Faust's Own St Louis Stein Blue Onion Photo Lid & LithographVintage 1984 Farrah Fawcett Contact Sheet Milton Greene Pin Up Sexy Photo ShootRare Image Quadriplegic Alfred Pilgrim Circus Sideshow Freak Cabinet Card 1890 Hedy Lamarr Autographed Photo With Original Envelope From M.g.m.Stan Lee & Lou Ferrigno Signed Incredible Hulk 16x20 Photo Jsa Authenticated Marilyn Monroe Original Vintage 1952 Frank Powolny Linen Doubleweight PhotographCa. 1860's Early Civil War 1/9 Plate Ruby Ambrotype Union Soldier In Union CaseGeorge Strait Worn Jacket And Autographed PhotoGinger Rogers Signed Photo From 1937 With Original Envelope From R.k.o.studiosCatherine Wheel Dave Hawes Als Challenge Chrome T-shirt + 1991 Promo PhotoCirca 1860's Civil War Cdv Union Infantry Soldier Armed W/smith & Wesson No.2Stan Lee The Hulk Signed Authentic 16x20 Photo Marvel Comics Autographed Psa/dnaRolf Armstrong American Pin-up Artist Photograph Of B & B Pastel Encore 1940s NrArmed Civil War Soldier ** 1/6 Plate Tintype ** Leather Case# 2 Cdv Gen. W.t. Sherman Civil War Era Photo From Armstead & TaylorViewmaster Disks (143) + Case & Brochures Disk Subjects Listed Below Stan Lee Signed Marvel Avengers Characters 16x20 Photo Jsa Authenticated Blue Vintage 1920s Photograph Bathing Beauty Marion Martin & Flapper Showgirl Models1968 Candice Bergen Risque Pin Up Mod Fashion Magazine Photograph Peter BaschLarge Format 1929 Joan Crawford Ruth Harriet Louise Photograph Untamed RisqueDaguerreotype Of A Pair Of Fashionable Dandies In Top Hats, Paisley Print Vest !Antique Tintype Photo Soldier Armed Sharps Rifle Ammo Belt Indian Wars Civil WarBeautiful Victorian~young Girl In Mourning~ Frame & Photo ~ Black Mourning DressVintage Wwii Photo Album- 327 Original Photographs-16th Armored DivisionVintage Minox Electronic Automatic Subminiature Miniature Spy Camera & Flash NrThe Grandeur Of The Gorges,50 Photos Of China By Donald Mennie, 2nd Ed, 1932 A

Recent News: Photographs

Source: Google News

Archbold Buckeye, September 2nd

An early Archbold baseball team in its fine new wool uniforms. Names of players are unknown; however, the fourth man standing from left is Wally Waldvogel, a local druggist, hardware store owner, and sportsman.– Antique photograph loaned and owned by ...Read more

Food Conservation Posters Mark WW I Centennial
UConn Advance (blog), September 2nd

A century ago, World War I turned the food industry inside out. Instead of urging consumers to buy wheat, meat, sugar, and fats, manufacturers and the federal government promoted eating less of those foods so they could be sent to Europe to feed...Read more

Hidden river port attractions, September 2nd

For the first time ever, from November 1 2014 to January 11 2015, the museum will display the pick of its huge 20th century photograph collection in its upcoming 'Modern Times' exhibition. Tickets for the museum cost €17.50, and it's best to book...Read more

Longport Art Show bids adieu to summer
Shore News Today, September 1st

7 and 13. Artist Virgi Mottola, whose artwork can be found year-round at Jamacian Me Crazy in Margate, was showing her customized vintage photographs. “I call it nostalgic, feel good mixed media art,” Mottola said. She take old post cards of Atlantic...Read more

John Patterson Green, father of Labor Day in Ohio, and his enduring legacy ...
The Plain Dealer -, September 1st

1926: Photo stamped with date April 8, 1926. John Patterson Green, first African-American to be elected to public office in Cleveland. He is considered the "Father of Labor Day," according to The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. (Cleveland Public...Read more

Pittsville Community Library to host antique appraisal event
Marshfield News-Herald, August 30th

Items accepted for appraisal include: fine art, furniture, ceramics, glassware, books, metalware, advertising, toys, clocks, vintage photographs and costume jewelry. Excluded items include: Knives, traps, Nazi memorabilia, coins and paper money, Beanie ...Read more

Local historian to release new book, August 29th

Many of the images come from the 6,000 photograph collection of former local photographer JB Muecke, presented to the FCHS by Morgan Williams who bought the collection to preserve it. “The thing about Muecke is he had a real sense of process,” Barker ...Read more

Vintage photographs get another showing in Herrin
The Southern, August 6th

HERRIN -- People who like historical pictures of Herrin get another chance to look at a vintage photograph collection shown previously on May 23 during HerrinFesta Italiana. "Looking Back," a slide show of more than 100 images, will be presented again...Read more