Old Photograph Collecting
Figure 1.--Daguerotypes can be quite expensive. Carte de viste and
cabinent cards and other old photographs can often be bought for only
a few dollars. Many boys had their curls cut before breeching. A minority
of mothers believed in breecvhing first and cutting their son's curls
later. This image, probably from the 1850s or early 60s shows a boy
wearing trousders, but still with long ringlet curls.
Collecting old photographs is rapidly becoming a popular pastime. It
is a fascinating hobby that can be pursued at relatively low cost. Many
quite old photographs can be obtained a little cost.
Collectng old photographs has become a popular hobby. Unlike some
antique collecting, it is a hobby that can be pursued
rather inexpensivly. The advent of on-line auction houses like E-Bay
have made it very easy to find photographs for one collectiin without
spending a lot of times at antique shows and flea markets going through
photographs of little interest.
There are many different types of old photographs. Some old
photographs like deguereotypes can be rather expensive.
Many other old pgotographs can be relatively
inexpensive. Old photographs like carte de viste and cabinent
cards, often over 100 years old, can cost only a few
dollars. Some collectors especially like
All of the old photographs show historic clothing styles in great
detail--everything, but color. Many collectors specialize
in activities like musical instruments, bicicles, sports, dancing, ect.
School and scout photographs are also very popular. Other like
certain clothing styles such as sailor suits, Fauntleroy suits,
kilts, knickers, ect. Some are interested in hair styles. Another popular theme
artifacts in the photographs like toys, dolls, teddy bears, ect. Many like
mother and daughter and father and sons pairs or visea versa. Many also like
photographs with pets, especially dogs and cats.
Others like to pursue specific time periods. Some of the most popular
are the Civil War 1860s, Gay 1890s, Roaring 1920s, the Depression 1930s,
and the War 1940s. Photographs from even more recent periods are becoming
popular, like the Hippy 1960s, or the Flaky 1970s. There are many more
specialties than can be pursued
with old photograph collecting. Whatever ones interests, it is possible
to build a fasinating collection at little cost.
Figure 2.--Images with old bicycles and tricycles are particularly popular. This carte de viste from the 1880s shows a bicycle that looks hard to ride. Note the boy's fancy bow.
Those interested in collecting old photographs may want to review the different types of photographs which in the 19th century were the different types of portraits.
Old Photograph Sites
There are many interset web sites showcasing and/or selling collectables. Some offer old
photographs. Some even specialize in old photographs. The prices can be high, but they do vary. Even if you are not in the market, it is interesting to have a look at the old images. Photographs are available at a wide range of prices, allowing any one to begin an interesting collection with very modest expenditures. Unlike other types of collectables, even old photographs can be purchased at very modest prices. Here are some of the sites I have found. Let me know if you know of any additional ones. Be sure to visit the HBC site. : These sites come and go very rapidly. Please let
me know if any of these links fail. Also, let me know if you find any
especially good new sites.
We had hope to create links here of interesting sites offering old photographs. We find, however, that many of these sites come and go and it does not seem worth the time and maintaining activev links.
- AntiquePhoto.Com: Monthly
auctions of antique images of all types. Consignments accepted. Antique
photo related literature for sale at discount prices. A Gallery of
- Apperture Press school photography: This site provides details on Apertures Presses school photography books. A book on British schools has been published and a e-book edition on New Zealand was published in 2000. Old school photographs are also available through Apertures Press, providing fascinating glimpses of school life in past years from several different countries.
- Colin Axon Photographic
Collection: A collection of early images (mostly English) including a
fine Crayon Daguerreoype of Catherine (Kate) Dickens wife of Charles
Women Photographers: This site exhibits selected photographic images
taken by early women photographers, as well as unusual images of women
from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Images, etc: Images etc is an internet site specializing in the sale
of authentic 19th century Civil War photographs. Again I'm hoping to find
some photographs of Confederate and Union drummer boys.
- Gail's Home Page:
Family Album contains 50 images of ancestors including 15 of my children's 16
great-great grandparents. My earliest photograph is of their 6 x great
grandparents, John and Janet Reid (nee Smith).
Figure 3.--Every parlor used to have a stereoscopic viewer and sets of
cards. The cards are now popular collectors items. This 1860s card shos a
boy before breeching still wearing a dress. Note the pantalettes.
- HBC On-line Store: A variety of images used on the HBC site can be purchased by collectors interested in children's clothing. These images cover a wide variety of subjects, countries, topics, and chronological periods. HBC readers who collect old photographs are incouraged to have a look at the available images.
- Ken Turner's Civil War
Homepage: Ken Turner's Civil War Homepage is a valuable source of
Civil War period information, photographs, and other period militaria. I'm
hoping to find some drummer boy photographs for HBC.
Collectables: Selling antique photos, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tin
types, CDV's, Civil War photos and items, pocket watches.
Miss Mary's Emporium of the Quaint & Curious: A unique spot on the Web
where guests are invited to explore collections of antique photographs,
postcards and ephemera.
- Photografique: A gallery
of vintage photographs for collecting. They buy and sell vintage images
of all kinds.
from the Attic: A private collection of antique photographs from the
mid-19th century through the 1950's.
- Tim McIntyre's Antique Photographs:
A site for buying, selling and auctioning 19th and early 20th century
- Victorian Photo: This
site offers many 19h century photographs for sale including daguerreotypes,
ambrotypes, CDV's, cabinet cards and tintypes. (See the
Main photographic page for details explaining
these different types of
photographs. They also carry books related to 19th century photography.
Figure 4.--Many collectors like to recall their school days by collecting school photographs.
There also sites which offer old drawings. These tend, however, to be
more expensive than the photographs.
prints: This site offers a variety of charming drawings from
the 19th and early 20th Century
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Created: May 10, 1999
Last updated: April 17, 2002