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    

Ca1864 Abraham Lincoln Quarter Plate Size Tintype Photograph In Original MountRare Authentic Early-20thc Sepia Photograph Of Jack London W/ Autograph1890 H.c. White Burled Walnut Stereoscope W/burled Walnut Cabinet & Stereocards1917 Theda Bara Hand Signed Witzel Photograph Rarest Antique Silent Film VampKiss Rare Army Kit Loaded 1978 Vintage Photo Set Poster Aucoin Mego No Lp1950s Peter Basch Jayne Mansfield Topless Nude Color Camera Transparency PhotoBlonde Bombshell Pin-up Marilyn Monroe 1952 Bruno Bernard Hollywood PhotographShatner Leonard Nimoy Kirk Spock Star Trek Autograph Signed Photo Plaque 358Rita Hayworth Vintage 1946 Photograph Pin Up Mermaid Down To Earth Rare GlamourLeonard Nimoy Rip Mr.spock Star Trek Signed Photo Uacc Rd#285 CoaKiss Rare Real 1st Army Kit Alive Vintage Alternate Photo Set Aucoin Mego No LpVintage 1950s Pin Up Color Transparency Virginia Rogers Photograph Nude 8x10 WowCivil War Soldier Tintype Armed, Back Pack, Drum Canteen, Loaded!Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip Hand Signed Presentation Photo 1974 – No ReserveRare Civil War Era Cdv- Drummer Boy R H Hendershot-hero- FredericksburgCa1864 Mary Todd Lincoln Quarter Plate Size Tintype Photograph In Original Mount Vintage 1930 Clara Bow Sultry Flapper Wild Jazz Age Photograph Rare Art DecoSigned Autograph Photo Prince Charles Princess Diana Royal Yacht 1989 Hong KongConfederate Civil War Soldier Tintype1934 Carole Lombard Rare Vintage Photograph William Haines Art Deco Home GlamourAudrey Hepburn On Set War & Peace Costume Photograph Vintage George Daniell 1956Alex Beckers Tabletop Sweetheart Stereoviewer Stereoscope Rare Wood CabinetCivil War Battle Flag Cdv Photo - 88th Pennsylvania, Cameron Light Guard~1859 Negretti & Zambra Stereoview #97, Canton China Mandarins At A Game TableRare Civil War Soldier W Henry Repeating Rifle Photograph Photo Cabinet CardVery Rare "fast & Furious" Paul Walker Signed 8" X 10" Photo And License PlateStar Trek Leonard Nimoy William Shatner In-person Hand-signed Autographed PhotoUnderwood Boer War Stereoviews Set "south African War Through The Stereoscope"20s Lili Damita Silent Film Vintage Photograph Risque Flapper Vamp Femme Fatale Identified 1/6 Plate Tinted Dog Lady Daguerreotype In Krainik Case #261 L@@k!!!Asahel Curtis Orotone Goldtone Photo Northwest Olympic Pen. Seascape Arts CraftsAntique Confederate Civil War Soldier Armed Rifle & Pistol Tin Type Photo FramedSensual Art Deco Jazz Baby Vintage Risque '32 Large Debarron Showgirl PhotographKiss Rare Army Kit Loaded 1976 Vintage Photo Set Poster Aucoin Mego No LpRare Civil War Battle Flag Cdv Photo, J Cremer PhiladelphiaYousuf Karsh Iconic Georgia O'keeffe Arist Portrait In Her Home Press Photo1920s Antique Signed Jacobi Lotte Photograph Of Lil Dagover German ActressKing George Vi .. Signed Letter & Envelope + Photograph .. Royal Autograph 1931Sensual Silent Film Flapper Vintage 1929 Large Format Jazz Age Risque PhotographAntique Tintype Photo Abraham Lincoln, Estate Find, No ReserveCivil War Soldier Cdv Photo Cabinet Card Eugene Davis On Lookout Mountain 1864Antique 19thc Gutta Percha Union Case Brown Harvest 1/4 Plate Berg 1-89 * Mint!Vintage 1934 Stunning Brigitte Helm Photograph Metropolis Icon Art Deco VintageAntique Signed, Jacobi Lotte, Photogenic Photograph Postcard Marc Chagall, NrLouise Brooks ~ Hand Signed 1920s # Portrait By Richee #original Vintage Photo1950s Bettie Page Nude Photo Color Transparency Erotic Gloves Stockings GarterAntique Universal Stereoscope Stereo Viewer~43 Card Lot W/french Cook Comic YqzLeonard Nimoy Star Trek Spock In-person Hand-signed Autographed PhotoJohn Denver Signed B&w Autographed Publicity Photo Psa/dna AuthenticatedUs Wwi Army Sargeant 463 Aero Sqaudron Aef Photo & Pershing Medal Germany NamedVintage Arthur Kales Fine Art Deco Ernestine Meyers Large Format '20s PhotographVintage Lot Of 3 Gaf View Master Stereoscope Reel Viewers W/32+ Picture Reels NrAntique 1917 Large Format Fine Art Modern Dance Photograph Ruth St. Denis RarePhoto Album Turkey Malta Hms Constantinople Sailors Poss Singapore Pre Ww2Star Trek #1 Gold Key 1967! Cgc 7.0 Leonard Nimoy Mr. Spock Photo Cover!!Published Vintage Peter Basch Erotic Fine Art Nude Pin Up Hand Signed PhotographClint Eastwood Signed 11x14 Photo The Outlaw Josey Wales Ga CoaJohn Denver Signed Autographed B&w Photo-skiing Sponsor-psa/dnaNoel Coward 'in Which We Serve' Hand Signed Autographed 6x4 PhotoEugene Cernan Apollo Xvii Astronaut Signed Framed Photo With Letter

Recent News: Photographs

Source: Google News

Vintage photographs from Port Aransas portray early life of a budding Texas ..., March 4th

Long before Port Aransas played host to thousands of annual spring breakers, it was a fisherman's playground and a family vacation spot where only the boats were fast. RELATED: Spring break in South Texas, back in the day. A 1930s feature in the ...Read more

New York: Mid-Century, Vintage photographs by Dutch artists at Keith de Lellis ...
The Eye of Photography, March 3rd

The Keith de Lellis Gallery presents Mid-Century. Vintage Photographs by Dutch Artists, the first exhibition dedicated to Dutch photography after World War II presented in New York City. The show includes 52 pictures by 13 photographers all originally...Read more

21 glorious, vintage photographs of NASA's glory days
Businessinsider India, February 27th

Space exploration's golden age was arguably at its very start, when ambition was boundless and progress came in great strides. A massive collection of vintage photos from this era went up for auction on February 26 at London's Bloomsbury Auction...Read more

It's Not All Fun & Games! These 11 Terrifying Vintage Photographs Expose the ..., February 23rd

And my assumptions have been right since I discovered a selection of vintage photographs that expose the creepiness behind the facade of merriment. Take a look at the following images, taken over the decades, and see what I mean for yourself: ...Read more

Swap meet offers up art, vintage photographs and electronics
Topeka Capital Journal, February 21st

Artwork, electronics, vintage photographs, computer components and more were available for swap or sale Saturday during the Art + Tech Swap Meet at 712 Innovations, 712 S. Kansas Ave. “For me, this is about getting people who like art and technology to ...Read more

Max Baur : Studies with the camera, vintage photographs
The Eye of Photography, February 12th

Max Baur is one of the important photographers of the 20th century in nature and plant studies. Born in 1898 in Günzburg an der Donau, his early works show German landscapes, especially the environment of the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam. Not much ...Read more

Picture it: Photograph collection chronicles life and times of Le Mars
Le Mars Daily Sentinel, February 8th

(Sentinel photo by Beverly Van Buskirk) Sorting through hundreds of copies of historic photographs are standing (left) Le Mars Historic Preservation member Jim Rohlfs and volunteer Steve Collins. Seated are (left) commission members Joan Thomas and ...Read more

NASA vintage photographs up for auction, including first space selfies
Market Business News, February 8th

A fantastic collection of prints from a previously unseen private collection of NASA photographs showing pioneering astronauts on the Moon and in space will go under the hammer on Thursday, 26 February, at Bloomsbury Auctions in London. The prints are ...Read more