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 stereoscope cards.

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 are the 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.

Types of Photographs

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. Note: 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.

Old Drawings

There also sites which offer old drawings. These tend, however, to be more expensive than the photographs.


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Created: May 10, 1999
Last updated: April 17, 2002