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Photography/Alfred S. Campbell Art Co.-Photograph


The Temple of Saturn-Rome
The Temple of Saturn-R  
QUESTION: I have PHOTO, in its original fram and we have had it for over 30 years.  It is take b Alfred S. Cambell Art Co. Elizabeth N.Y. and it is a phot take in Rome, "The Temple of Saturn.  It has people in the photo and is extremely old and fragile.  It is a single photo and I want to know if it has any value.

ANSWER: Hello Maria from a fellow (but former) Buckeye!

That's an interesting question.  I hadn't heard of the company, so I did a quick Google search and found a couple interesting links. This first one is for another of their photos, which is currently on sale on eBay for just under $25:

And here's a very brief history of the firm:

Now if the above eBay item sells before it closes in four days, then I suppose you could say your photo is worth about $25. If it doesn't sell, then perhaps not.

I'd also recommend contacting a local auction house that does free appraisals over the Web. (For example, if there's a Skinner branch near you, they'd be a good choice.) You could email them a photo of the item and see what they say.

Best of luck with your quest!



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: this is not a Lithograph, it is a single photo.


Hi Again,

In that case, I again suggest that you contact a local auction house who might have real experience with appraising very old photos. However, be prepared for the fact that photographs weren't even considered to be art for many, many years. And even today, it often takes a name like "Ansel Adams" (or the signature of some other famous photog) to elevate an image to the status of valuable art. We recently attended a Skinner auction where some very old sepia-toned photos signed by a person (and not just by a company) were "passed" for lack of interest. So see if you can get a professional appraisal, but please don't be too disappointed if the valuation is fairly low!




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Dave Powell


My specialty is highly atmospheric digital-infrared photography, and I'd love to answer questions about digital-IR equipment and procedures. I can also help people understand classic "old-photog" techniques (like "Sunny 16 Exposure" and "Hyperfocal Focusing")... which are still useful today. I can answer questions about processing, improving, manipulating, and printing digital photos with programs like Photoshop. I'm an inveterate tinkerer, and may be able to answer questions about making one's own photo equipment (such as DIY special-effect filters, close-up adapters, and pin-hole cameras); about doing super-closeup macro photography (film or digital); and about using older lenses on cameras made by different manufacturers (such as Nikon lenses on Canon bodies and Pentax lenses on Olympus bodies. I can answer general purchasing questions, such as "Can any of the digital SLRs use my old Minolta film lenses?" But as others have noted, nobody can identify the "best" camera for another person. That calls for extensive web research plus hands-on time in a good camera store. (But I can point to great web resources for doing this research!)


Over the past 40 years, I've used a huge variety of film cameras (SLR, rangefinder, point-and-shoot, high-end, fantastique-plastique, fully manual, highly automated, 35mm, 110, medium format, Polaroid, folding, even homemade pinhole). I've used digital cameras since the late 1990s (began when I was writing user manuals for Polaroidís digital cameras). I've also won juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints. (Amazingly, my best-selling print was taken with a lowly 0.8-megapixel camera, and very carefully processed to print at 12x18 inches!) Iíve taught local adult-ed classes about digital cameras, Photoshop image processing, and better photography through self-understanding. Iíve contributed to Popular Photographyís tips and tricks column, and am currently writing a book about taking better photos through self-understanding.

Popular Photography (tips and tricks column), plus dozens of magazines and blog sites that have carried my bylined articles about computers, networking, information security, and eLearning.

Masters in Science Communications, Boston University, 1980. Bachelors in Mathematics, Denison University, 1970.

Awards and Honors
I've won several juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints... especially digital-infrared landscapes, architectural abstracts, and cityscapes. I've also won multiple international awards in the technical-writing field... including a business press equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. And I've even written for Sesame Street!

Past/Present Clients
Winchester Recreation Department (taught photography classes) Jenks Senior Center (taught photography and Photoshop classes) Polaroid (wrote their digital-camera user manuals until they entered Chapter 11)

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