08/20/2020 at 3:21 pm #80867IndySalesParticipant
This isn’t remotely in my wheelhouse, but I’ve obtained an “estate lot” of color slides from an amateur photographer. This is my first time handling slides so I can only roughly guess what I’m dealing with, but I think it’s over 10k individual slides from 1960 – 1990 taken all over the globe (from Ohio to Tokyo.) I have so many that it filled up an entire heavy-duty plastic tote, about the biggest size you can get from a hardware store.
Nearly all of them are stored in the original packaging from when they were developed at Kodak. This includes date/time stamps and locations, although the older ones are harder to read. Some even have postage stamps on the outside! Most are Kodak. Others are Dale Labs and Agfachrome.
Pictures range from “street photography”, vehicles, to landscapes. There are some architecture and vacation photos as well.
The photographer died in the last few years. His wife died recently. I found these dumped into the bins at a Goodwill Outlet, completely untouched and slated to be trashed. How the pictures ended up discarded are beyond me when the people involved were accomplished enough to have news articles written about them.
So what are my options here? I’m aware that these vary in price from $20 for a few hundred to $40 – $50 for a single photo. How do I go about determining value? What are the best way to display them? As mentioned, they’re nicely sorted into a box per location/year – I’m thinking my best bet is to take a few from each box, display them, then do a BIN listing for the box. Or should I hunt around for cool photos? What are your thoughts?
I’ll document the journey here in this thread.
08/20/2020 at 3:26 pm #80868JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
What a fun find. Glad you saved them! Not an expert, but I would first take plenty of time to look through the slides.
–Was the guy a good photographer? Are you bored looking at them or excited?
–Are they just wide shots of trees and mountains? Or did he take close up photos of people and cars? Does it give you a sense of time/place?
The value will come in their historical and artistic merit.
08/20/2020 at 8:47 pm #80874Kentucky PickerParticipant
- Location: Newport, Kentucky
Congrats on your score! I’m in the Cincinnati area, but my favorite auctioneer is Christys of Indiana. Anyway, a month or so ago I spotted a Christys estate auction that featured scores of lots of photos. It was mind-blowing how much there was. Only my recollection is that they were prints. I don’t recall any mention of slides – but it’s been awhile and there may well have been slides in there. I was really intrigued but wrestled with how I would list them. The sheer volume of photos was incredible. I remember seeing albums filled with photos of flowers. Any way, I would bet that your score is linked to that estate.
Best of luck to you! Hope you make out like a bandit.
08/20/2020 at 11:16 pm #80877SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Of course, you should learn how to list slides from the experts. Here is Ryanne and Jay’s episode on selling slides. The topic has been brought up several other times as well. Search “selling+slides” in the podcasts.
08/22/2020 at 1:35 am #80901Curious CuratorParticipant
- Location: Illinois
Oh gosh. While this sounds like a great score, it makes me wonder… Maybe someone here has some insight on my dilemma. Since childhood, I have been a multi-talker. Still am. I have almost always worked 2 jobs (sometimes 3) simultaneously my whole working life. I don’t like to sit still. Anyhow, I was a wedding photographer for 10-11 years. I shot weddings on Saturdays, some Sundays, and some Fridays. I also taught at the public schools here and during the summer months I worked at the park district. As a visual artist, I truly enjoyed photography and took photos as a teacher, then a recreational leader during the summer months. I have a million photos of other peoples kids, birthday celebrations, beach outings, museum trips, boating trips (just paddle boats), holidays, weddings, school strikes, school recess (kids playing in the school yards) school parent-teacher meetings, trips to the Illinois Capitol, field trips, local school counsel meetings-you name it.
Anyhow. I tried to donate the photos to school district as well as the part district as historical records (there is probably photos that might interest historical buffs). No takers. The school district and the part district both said they wanted them, but neither picked them up. I was very available to hand them off.
I know when I pass, my family is going to throw these away and I would hate to see that happen (ya-I know-I’ll be none the wiser). I just think these may be of use to some organization, preferably the aforementioned. So, what do I do with them? I literally have thousands of photos. Thousands. Many are actual photos, a lot are on CD’s, (I know!) some are on Compact Flash cards, (early SD cards for those wondering), and a few rolls unexposed. Does anyone have good, sound advice? While I love the idea of being the current “Vivian Maier”, (chuckles) I highly doubt it-just being “real”. Thanks
Good luck with those slides, IndySales! I’d go thru them and categorize and sell that way-painfully slow, but most profitable I imagine.
And Jay, just a side bar: “…just wide shots of trees and mountains” made Ansel Adams a very famous man. 😀
08/22/2020 at 8:57 am #80910JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
And Jay, just a side bar: “…just wide shots of trees and mountains” made Ansel Adams a very famous man
Ha! Agreed. And Paul Weston is famous for his close up photos of peppers.
Unfortunately Steve from Cleveland’s vacation photos from the 1980s wont be worth much if its just wide shots of trees. Anyone who’s sat through a vacation slideshow intuitively understands 🙂
08/22/2020 at 1:39 am #80902
08/22/2020 at 9:36 am #80913almastyParticipant
You’ve got multiple options here. You can sell the collection complete with a high shipping cost on Ebay to another dealer or collector. This will allow them to do the work of splitting the lot up and doing all of the work, but depending on how much you paid for it, you should be able to do really well just by selling it complete and not having to worry about the nitty gritty of putting work into it.
You can create smaller lots of the slides and sell them that way. Prices will vary depending on location and years.
You can do a combination of the above and do additional research into areas where individual slides will do well – people will pay up for vehicles and transportation ones, as well as some locations depending on the year. For example, if you have any slides from China, they might do really well individually if the locations are identified. Street photography from China from decades ago does really well on Ebay.
I have multiple slide collections that I am going through myself right now, but I haven’t had the chance to deal with them in a few months. It’s one of my favorite things to do when I get the time to work on them.
08/22/2020 at 1:16 pm #80919IndySalesParticipant
Thanks for the replies everyone!
Since posting I dedicated 100% of my time to sorting the lot. I opted to group them by location. Maine had the most photos, as the obit. I read of the photographer mentioned he loved to spend time there. These were mostly shot in the 70s/80s and were typical vacation photos with a few standouts here and there. I listed them + a few boxes (of 20-30 slides) from other US states as one big lot.
Almasty, you were correct about slides from China. I’d went through maybe 50% of the lot and had enough to completely crowd my photo-taking area with just Shanghai and Beijing photos. These were also from the 70s and 80s. I listed them also.
While sorting, I set aside boxes I felt had the “best” photos. Obviously subjective, but I had a photography kick a few years ago and picked ones I felt most aligned with my taste in photos. To test, I picked 5 slides and created a listing just for them.
So that means 3 listed “test” lots are/were (!) live. Pricing was nearly impossible for me to do. For reference, I’m primarily in electronics and other consumer goods with definite, “objective” resale values via sales histories. Having unique items with no solid price gave me some appreciation for the people who can come up with a price tag on their own. I spent way too much time going on price alone.
Lot 1 of Maine/other states went up for $100. The China lot was tagged for $40-something. The 5 individual photos settled on $30. I would say there was some reasoning behind this, namely that the China slides appeared to not be selling well for people if they were taken in the 70s onward, but it was nothing more than a random guess with a bit of unreliable market research mixed in, as the lot sold in a few hours for full price. I still have boxes from China, so I’ll be lotting them up and doubling the price. I guess I’ll find out then if the original lot going for $40 was a result of being at the right price, or being severely underpriced.
The other 2 lots are currently sitting at <5 views. Maybe this isn’t unusual for this stuff.
To take preview pictures of the slides, I placed them directly on a “light therapy” box/”SAD light”. For each lot I selected roughly 12/18 slides at random for inclusion in the listing photos.
Almasty, you’re right on about the transportation stuff. It’s awesome – there’s a few I set aside for a train/car lot that I should put some priority towards. I also noticed that slides of military stuff goes from $25 – $100/slide.
I made it through roughly 40% of the lot before I decided to tag what I had sorted into boxes and set aside the rest for sorting in the future. One thing I didn’t have during the COVID lockdown was a backlog to pick through, so maybe this would be a good candidate for it if we end up in Le Coof Pt. 2.
Until the China lot sold, I thought I made a huge mistake. Now that those are gone I’m feeling a bit better about the investment. I’ve got plans to get slides from Germany and Japan up next. As more sell I’ll hopefully get a better idea of what the lot is worth in its entirety. If I can manage $40/lot it’ll be worth it IMO.
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