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Historical Original Photos

Antique Old Vintage Photos Pictures
Rare Original Vintage Photography

Spellbinding Stories Without Uttering a Word

"Nothing Captures History Like a Picture"

The reasons people collect historical memorabilia whether it be art, sports or entertainment are endless.   In the case of vintage photography, I will offer my own opinion.     Unlike baseball cards, coins or even high value paintings, a photograph tells a story by capturing a real moment in time.   Whether it be a horrifying image of War,  Thomas Edison in his laboratory,  JFK riding in his convertible on a nice sunny day in Dallas,  Neil Armstrong looking out the window of Apollo 11, John Lennon signing an autograph for David Chapman or Marilyn Monroe on Santa Monica Beach in July 1962, photos can tell a 1000 word story without ever saying a single word.

Vintage photos capturing the nostalgic essence of vintage Hollywood are becoming more and more desirable. Collectors are now paying top value for quality original photos. For example, vintage horror photos like Dracula and Frankenstein have recently sold for over $1000. A couple weeks ago a Marilyn Monroe unsigned publiclity photo sold for $6000. The same is true for Vintage Sports, in particular Baseball and Boxing. A recent online auction of vintage baseball photos included a number of photos selling over $2000. Marilyn Monroe photographer stills for $5000-10000.. Like all other categories of vintage memorabilia, collectors are setting premiums for rare items with great visual appeal.


 A Brief History of Vintage Movie Stills

Movie stills (photos) have been issued by studios since the earliest days of cinema. They were sent in limited numbers direct from the studio's publicity department to theaters and the media to promote a new release and the film's stars. Hence, the term "wire photos". These printings had very short printing runs, and the stills became in essence "limited edition" prints.

Most movie stills show a movie scene, but also include stunning portrait shots and fascinating candids. Studios recognized the great promotional value of these stills to entice moviegoers into the theater, and often spared no expense in creating beautiful scene stills, portraits and candids taken by some of Hollywood's most accomplished photographers. Many stills are like works of art in themselves and have become iconic images of cinema and 20th Century culture.
Since the late '60s stills have taken their place along movie posters and lobby cards as desirable and highly collectible cinema artifacts. More and more collectors are becoming aware of these stills and how desirable they are to collect and/or display.

A Brief History of Vintage Sports Stills and Wire Service Photos

From One of the Largest Quality Vintage Original and Wire Service Photo collections ever assembled direct from (3) different sportswriters' and their working libraries. Original Vintage Photos are 'from the period' and are 'FIRST generation' pieces (unless clearly stated). Wire Service Photos were extensively used in print media during the first half of the 1900's. Issued by news agencies (such as Acme, NEA, International News, Associated Press, UPI, Fotogram,) only to the press, these Gorgeous pieces capture a historical moment, frozen in time, as they were issued on the day the event happened. Unfortunately they were issued in extremely limited quantities solely for print media industry usage (it is estimated that there were approximately 25 - 50 of EACH particular photograph made). Over the years, many were destroyed or lost, and in some cases, there are only 1 or 2 specimens known to exist today of a particular photograph making these Original, First Generation Vintage Photographic relics Outstanding Investments. (NOTE: Original Photos or Wire Photos can be distinguished from contemporary reproduction photographs or "copies" (which are worthless, many of which you'll see on eBay for a dime a dozen) by one or more of the following signs: (1) the photographer or news agency stamp (2) the news print/caption attached on the reverse (and on the obverse for many post-1950's pieces), (3) age of the photographic paper stock.

Here’s why original vintage publicity photos actually used to promote the films original release are sometimes more exciting and desirable then the movie posters. 

1.  The images are usually unique and Only captured by studio photographers specifically for promotional/publicity still photos and were not on any movie posters.  i.e. like our recently acquired “Mighty Joe Young” photos which capture the REAL “Joe”.   Only animated images were used in the movie posters and lobby cards. Never an actual photo of Joe!
2.  They are often dated and some have extensive provenance on the back in the form of studio stamps, photographer stamps, period newspaper clippings, etc.
3. The images are often sharper than the posters .
4. Perfect 8x10” size for framing and matting, shipping as gifts.  For example,  ideal for displaying with a historical relic like an autograph..


PSA has four classes of certification for original photographs as shown below:


 This historical 1914 Providence Grays photo featuring a
19 year old Babe Ruth sold  at auction 2009 for over $13,000

Featured Products - Historical Original Photos

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