PRESERVING VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHS - Film studio publicity departments sent out thousands of photos of their stars.  Consequently, the market for images of lesser-known film stars  even signed ones  isn't strong right now. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals

 

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Collecting Antique Photographs

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PRESERVING VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHS


Dear Chatelaine's Antiques,
While cleaning my mother's attic, I found several old photographs of movie stars.  One of them is a signed photograph of Clara Bandick, who played Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz.  The photo is on heavy-duty photo paper and her signature is written very boldly on the white part of the photo.  Right now all the photos are sitting in a large shoebox in the bottom of my closet.  Is there any demand for photographs like these?  How do I preserve them?
Susan

Clara Blandick (''Auntie Em'')

Clara Blandick
("Auntie Em")

Dear Susan,
Your photo of Clara Bandick is more valuable than most, because of her association with the Wizard of Oz.  But just as in all collecting categories, availability and desirability are two major factors governing the market for vintage photographs.

Film studio publicity departments sent out thousands of photos of their stars.  Consequently, the market for images of lesser-known film stars even signed ones isn't strong right now.

In general, photos of big stars or pictures taken by important photographers are worth more. I suspect you may come to value these photos more for their connection with your mother than their monetary worth.

As for preserving them, the first step is to get them out of that box in the closet.  Mr. Rose suggests matting the photos on acid-free or rag mat boards.  (Don't use cardboard, because the chemicals will leach into the print.)  Then place the matted pictures in PhotoGuard archival plastic or Mylar sleeves.  These materials are readily available at most photography stores.



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