Early American Photography

Photography collecting can be a fun and interesting hobby. This is one kind of collection that can be started on a budget. Since film cameras are no longer in use much, there are many available at garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. Some of the more interesting models are the early box and bellows model cameras. These may be found at flea market and antique shows, and are still quite reasonable to purchase.
The better the condition the more interesting the camera will be for your collection. Inspect the camera to be sure the shutter clicks, and the bellows if equipped with one: opens and closes and is not torn. The camera can be carefully cleaned, and make great conversation pieces and display items. Look for American brands like Kodak or Ansco. Even the Kodak Brownie cameras are fun to collect and plentiful.
You can also find a good selection of old photographs at many flea markets and garage sales. The earliest Daguerreotype photographs from the 1800s are metal plates with an image on them. These are very collectible and will demand a higher price than later paper or cardboard based prints. The Tintype photos followed and are also sought after.
Photographs from the later 1800s and early 1900s are less expensive to own, and can make a good collection. You can even create a “family” album of fake ancestors just for fun. A good place to start gathering information on early American photography and camera collecting is, http://www.historiccamera.com

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