Queries and Answers: Photographic Value


A recent sale of photograph’s at Christie’s auction brought in 7.5 million dollars. The items sold included a set of Edward Curtis photos of American Indians. If you’ve ever wondered how much a photograph in your collection was worth here’s a few things to keep in mind. I’m not a photographic appraiser, but I’ve spent enough years as a curator and as a photo collector to have a general sense of value.

Was your image taken by a notable photographer?A gorgeous daguerreotype by Southworth & Hawes is worth more than a carte de visite taken by a local studio.

Is it unique?

What type of photo is it?

Who’s depicted? Is it a famous person?

What’s the subject of the photo? Anything seen as unusual costs more at photo shows.

Is it historically significant?

Before deciding to sell off part of your collection, keep in mind the sentimental value of your family photos. If you think you have an image that fits the criteria mentioned above contact a certified photographic appraiser. This article has a lot of good tips to follow and a list of what you should expect from an appraisal.



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