Vintage Ephemera Collecting : Collecting Old Photos


Now, old photographs are so fun. Of course,
there’s so many different kinds because you have in the early 1900s, you have them in
the late 1800s. They call these carte d’viste, they’re cards. Look at these guys. Do they
look happy to you? I don’t think so. They’re not having a good time. But, you know, what
are you going to do? But these old photos are just wonderful. One time, I actually sold
a photo like this, but it had somebody’s cat sitting on a chair and, since these photos
were kind of expensive, not many people took pictures of their cats unless they were a
little nuts, so the cat sitting on a chair, I sold that photo for like 60 bucks. I’m telling
you right now, watch for cats in chairs. Okay. Here’s the other happy couple. Look at these.
These people look like they’re having a wonderful time. Don’t they? Yeah, I don’t think so either.
You know, I don’t why people didn’t smile. I don’t think they had the cheese things going
on then. You know? So here’s a whole bunch of interesting, you know what’s real interesting
too? Ones that are worth money are not only cats, but like circus performers and military
people. Military people are huge; hugely entertaining. You know what else is good? Let me just show
you this. These are the old books, you know, with Aunt Gertrude, Uncle Harry. Look at these
people. You like the hairstyles? Check out this guy’s beard. I think he had it permed.
He had a mullet in the front. Isn’t that different? Yeah, eww, yikes, that’s not attractive either.
But these books are nice and sometimes the bindings are really beautiful and they’re
very ornate. And these books aren’t worth as much as you might think. They’re worth
maybe 40, 50 bucks a piece in nice condition. But, you know, photos, and even current photos,
people come in and they say, “you know, I collect people camping in tents.” Whatever.
So I look up, I say, “okay, I’ll find you some of that.” So, we have boxes of photographs
and I start looking for people camping in tents? Now, why in the earth would somebody
want that, but I’m telling you, somebody asked me that once. This other guy came in, he wanted
pictures of squirrels. What is that about? I didn’t ask, you know. But, I found him a
few pictures of squirrels. It was pretty odd but what are you going to do? If he likes
squirrels, he likes squirrels, you know?

9 Replies to “Vintage Ephemera Collecting : Collecting Old Photos”

  1. The reason people didn't smile in old photos is because of the camera's exposure time. They had to hold their pose for several minutes and it was easier to do so with an expressionless face than to smile for any length of time. Photographs and other forms of ephemera should be handled with gloved hands because the natural oils on your skin will transfer to the paper and cause it to deteriorate more rapidly.

  2. I collect American WWll photos. Especially portraits, of guys in uniform or squadron pictures (long rectangular pic's called: longyards).

    I started out with an idea of one day opening a bar, and have it themed based on my collection.
    I've been collecting for the last 18 years. Since then, I've branched out to recruitment posters.

    Sometimes it's not all necessarily about antiques. But about the decor and how it brings a space to life!!

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