The History Of Antique Photographs

Antique photos are my most favorite thing to collect. I have to keep them and enjoy them for a while before I will actually let them go. I usually buy them in bulk at online auctions or a local auction here in town.

If you want to sell them I have found it is best to put them in categories. People like vintage pictures of cars, trains, civil war soldiers, dogs. Most collectors I have found people mostly collect photos from the 1800’s - early 1900’s. I have definitely sold 40’s and 50’s but the older ones sell the best.

The most shocking photos I have sold was photos of just a girl standing next to a Pepsi sign from the 1940’s. I had 2 of them and sold them for $30 each. They sold fast!

Vintage Pepsi sign the pepsi cola cop                    Vintage Pete pepsi cola cop


The photo album I bought was $15 and I still have many pictures from that photo album that I can sell.

If there is nothing special that you can spot in your pile of photos people (like me) like to buy in bulk. 

The earliest known photograph..

In 1826, French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, took that photograph, titled View from the Window at Le Gras, at his family’s country home. Niépce produced his photo—a view of a courtyard and outbuildings seen from the house’s upstairs window.

.first photograph

Here are other types of Antique Photos...

Photogravure Started in the 1800's 

The photographer's negative is transferred onto a copper plate, which is used to print or engrave the image with ink. Photogravure was used for both original Fine Art, Prints and Paintings. It was used to mass produce large editions of photographs for high quality books and magazines. copper plate negatives

This one and more available on Ebay (click to see)


Daguerreotype: 1820’s - 1850’s  In 1829

Louis Daguerre partnered with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, who four years earlier had produced the world’s first permanent photograph. Hoping to incorporate it into his dioramas, Daguerre had already been researching the medium for some time. After Niépce’s death in 1833, Daguerre’s experiments with chemicals and silver plates yielded the daguerreotype process, which he patented in 1839. Daguerreotype images are very delicate and easily damaged and come in protective cases, often made of leather and lined with silk or velvet.They range of sizes, but most portraits are quite small, usually around 2×3 inches.

Ambrotype: 1850s.-1860s It is a wet glass plate negative which when viewed against a dark background looks like a positive photograph. These are usually kept in protective cases like the Daguerreotype. I have this one pictured below listed here on Ebay 


Tintype: 1856 - 1900 (widest use during the 1860s and 1870s) Most common size is 2½ x 3½ inches. The tintype image was processed on a thin sheet of blackened iron.


Carte de Visite (CDV): 1854 - early 1900’s Made with a thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker card paper. The measure 2 ½” X 4”

Carte de visite (CDV)


Cabinet Cards: 1860’s - early 1900’s - These are similar to Carte de visite. I have several of these. 

They are also on thicker card paper and most of them have the Photographers name printed on the front. They are also a bit larger 4 ¼” X 6 ½”. 

The one below SOLD for $8.00. I bought in an old album full of photos. The more interesting ones I separate and sell individually and the rest I group together and sell as a lot.

cabinet card


Stereoview Cards: 1860- 1920’s  In order to produce a stereoview, a special camera is used to take a pair of photographs of the subject simultaneously. Two lenses, mounted 2.5 inches apart, simulate the distance between human eyes. A print of the two images is then made from the negative. The images are cut apart, reversed to correct for the lateral inversion, then mounted side-by-side on cardboard. When viewed through the stereoscopic viewer, the two images overlap, merging in our minds to give the illusion of depth and three-dimensions.

I have many of these on Ebay. The one shown in the picture is my favorite and you can find it here..

kittens stereoview cards

It’s not in the greatest shape but I only found one other one like it on a museum’s website. 

Here is a video I made of some of my Antique Photos that I have collected.






Some research was found on these websites..  







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