Frequently Asked Questions

Buying / Selling / Valuing Photos


NOTE:   Please do not be misled by the heading on this page.

My research and this web site is entirely non-commercial.

I am not attempting to sell anything.

However, here are a few brief answers to some of the questions that I have been asked about buying and selling photographs.



I have some old photos.  How much are they worth?

Photographs by some of the early photographers can sell for several thousand s at auction.  However, many of the small photos mounted on card from the 19th century  (both portraits and landscapes) do not fetch high prices.   I find that, here in Edinburgh,  it is still possible to buy photos in good condition at antique fares and second-hand shops for about the following prices:

[3 = approx.US$5]

50p to 1 each (carte de visite)
1 or 2 each (cabinet prints)  

3 to 5 each (stereo cards)

Subjects of particular interest or photos that are particularly appealing can sometimes cost considerably more.

I do not have the expertise to give any advice beyond the above on individual photos.  I recommend a contacting a good auction house that deals in old photographs that are likely to be particularly valuable, or visits to antique fairs or checking eBay auctions prices to determine the possible value of other photos.

Prices requested on internet sites can sometimes be much higher than above.  I don't know whether or not the photos are actually sold at these prices.



I have an old photo by A W Elson

-    What is known about this company?

-    How much is my photograph worth?


The company appears to have produced large carbon prints, from around the 1890s until 1925, possibly over a longer period.

Many of their photos are in large oak frames.  Subjects include reproductions of portrait paintings and a series of pictures of Indians.

Value of Photos

I don't know how much any of the A W Elson photos are worth, other than having seen one of them for sale occasionally on eBay for perhaps about 50 to 100.   Do you have any more information  about their value?   If so, please e-mail me.  Thank you

Please see 'Reply' below






George T Smith

Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to George who wrote:

Value of A W Elson Photos

"The Artfact web site might provide some of the elusive values that some of your viewers seem to want."

George T Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:  April 22, 2011


Artfact claims to be the world's largest auction database.  The link above points to an A W Elson page on the Artfact web site.  I've never used the Artfact web site, myself.

If you decide to have a look at the Artfact web site, please email me to let me know whether or not you find it helpful.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 22, 2011





Peter Stubbs


I am continuing to receive many messages from EdinPhoto visitors, asking me about the likely value of A W Elson prints, but practically no answers to this question.

However, I've now arranged for the eBay web site to let me know whenever an A W Elson item is offered for sale on eBay.

As I receive notifications I am adding the details to this page of AW Elson Questions and Answers.


a) eBay have told me about a book titled Our New England that is currently on offer with a 'Buy it Now' price of US$65. 

This book was published in 1890 and is illustrated with AW Elson photogravures.  I don't know the size of this book or how many photogravures are in it.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 18, 2011

b) The book in 1. above is being offered for sale again on eBay.
It's 'Buy it now' price has been reduced to US$50.

It is described as being: First Edition, 1890 with 12 Photogravure plates accompanied by descriptive letterpress, 24p.  Complete.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  January 4, 2012

c) There is now a copy of A W Elson's photo of Stratford on Avon offered for sale on eBay.  Minimum bid US$50.  Auction ends February 13, 2012.

A W Elson Photograph  -  river and church  -  Where is it?

The seller describes this item as a "rare mammoth 1890 carbon photo".

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  February 7, 2012





Travis Kleinman

Ironton, Ohio, USA

Thank you to Travis Kleinman for writing with some information about AW Elson prints.  (This makes a change from most of the AW Elson messages that I have received recently, asking questions but providing no answers.)

Acknowledgement:  Travis Kleinman, Ironton, Ohio, USA

Album of 168 Photogravure Prints

Travis told me about a book of A W Elson photogravure prints offered for sale on the Internet for US$1,759.

The album contains 168 prints, each measuring 9 ins x 12 ins. Here is a brief description of the album, taken from the East Paladin web site. 

"One Hundred & Sixty Eight (168) Original A.W. ELSON & CO (Boston) Photogravures 9" x 12" Prints, years spanning from copyright 1878 to 1908. All in Poor/Fair condition. No duplicates. Came from a single collector. Each of these prints were originally "glued" (at four corners) inside a single photo album.

Each sheet may have black paper residue at corners, and/or tears at corners. Some prints have large tears or missing pieces at corners, whereas some have tiny ones. No tears at MAIN or central images.

Expect some age discoloration, particularly some obvious image "shadows" on prints; (again, these prints were placed inside an album face to face, without any tissue paper between them). Some fox marks, light creases, tiny tears, stains, and dirt marks. One sheet does not have copyright info (Titian's "Man with a Glove"). Some prints have numbered at corners  (I think most of them were written with pencils.)"

Please click on this East Paladin link to see the dates and titles of many of the prints in this album.  This link may stop working at some stage, if the album is sold and the seller removes the page from his web site.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  June 26, 2012



Here are some of the questions that I have been asked about A W Elson photos.

Please email me if you have answers to any of these questions, or if you can tell me anything about the company, A W Elson.

I will pass on any relevant details that you give me to the owners of the A W Elson photos,  and will add the details to this web site.

-  Peter Stubbs



A W Elson Questions

I have been asked many questions about A W Elson photographs.  Below, are thumbnail images of some of the photos that I have been asked about.

Carbon Print by A W Elson & Co, Boston  -  Cornwallis Surrender

Carbon Print by A W Elson & Co, Boston  -  Abraham Lincoln

Portrait of Martha Washington

A W Elson photograph titled ' Indian and the Lily'

A W Elson's logo - taken from the bottom of the frame of a photo titled 'Indian and the Lily'an and the Lily

A W Elson Photograph  -  river and church  -  Where is it?

Zoom-in to an A W Elson Photograph  -  river and church  -  Where is it?

AW Elson print of Murillo's painting: "Children of the Shell"

AW Elson print including formal dress and coaches.  What is the event, and what is the title of this photo?

A W Elson colouered photograph of George Washington

A W Elson colouered photograph of Martha Washington

The label on the back of an A W Elson photograph

Carbon print by A W Elson  -  The Capitol, Wasshington

Picture published by AW Elson  -  Native Americans and Ships



I have an old stereo photos by Underwood & Underwood

-    What is known about this company?

-    How much is my photograph worth?


The company appears to have produced many sets of stereo photos of views from around the world, in the 1890s and early 1900s.

The images in Underwood & Underwood stereos are normally high quality, retaining lots of detail in the scene, which looks all the more impressive when seen through a stereo viewer.

In almost all cased, sets of Underwood & Underwood stereo views that I have seen have been in very good condition.


I have bought a number of Underwood & Underwood stereo views, paying between 1 and 4 per image, here in Scotland   I don't know how these prices vary around the world.


Help please?

I have seen large book on the history of stereo cards, probably published around the 1990s.  I would expect this to include details of Underwood & Underwood - perhaps what became of the company, perhaps details of the range of cards that they published.

If you are aware of this book, can you email me and tell me its title and publisher, as I believe that would help me to answer some of the questions that I receive from time to time in emails and in the address book.

Thank you.  - Peter Stubbs


Thank you to KR who replied:

"I believe the book you are thinking of is titled: Stereo Views - An Illustrated History & Price Guide by John Waldsmith. It was originally published in 1991 and a second edition was published in 2002. It also includes prices for View-Master reels, etc. It is NOT an all-inclusive price guide, but does give a good idea of the average worth of cards on various subjects."

KR, August 12, 2007



Are photographs on the EdinPhoto web site for sale?

This web site records my research into the History of Photography in Edinburgh.  It is entirely non-commercial. 

I am spending my time on research and updating the web site, rather than attempting to sell photos.

However, if I have agreed in the past to allow some images from the site to be used, and sometimes to supply higher quality jpg files of these (free of charge).
If you have any particular request, please email me.



Can I have permission to reproduce an image?

Please e-mail me, letting me know exactly which image you would like to use and the purpose. 


a)  If the message below the image says  peter.stubbs  I should be able give you an answer myself.

b)  But if it says   [somebody else] it will also be necessary to contact the copyright owner.  In most cases I should be able to tell you how to contact them.




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