I’ve loved vintage photographs for as long as I can remember and started collecting them in my early teens. I spent many a Saturday afternoon in a junk store on Bancroft Avenue in Berkeley looking through tattered boxes for photographs I simply had to have. The photograph above was one of them. When I opened Augenblickphoto I made photo decor and jewelry from high quality prints of vintage photographs from my private collection as well as my own work. This, of course, has been the perfect excuse to always be on the hunt for new gems to add and most of the vintage photograph shopping I do is online. Although I’ve bought from over a dozen online sources, the shops listed below have been my favorites both by the quality and selection of the photographs as well as excellence in service. As I’ve been very happy with all of them, they are in no particular order.
1. Clancy’s Classics
With over 800 vintage photographs for sale, Clancy’s Classics (or Maclancy) is always a sure bet for finding a must-have for my collection (in fact, when I went to etsy to get the link for this post I immediately found several photographs I absolutely love but had not yet seen even though I browsed the shop only a couple of days ago.) I have bought photographs here time and time again and always found the service very professional and the shipping amazingly fast considering I live in Berlin and the shop is based in Oregon. The shop owner Marianne also sells her own tinted photograph work which is well worth a look.
2. Ephemera Obscura
Another great etsy shop is Ephemera Obscura, with over 2000 photographs to choose from as well a handful of greeting cards, books, magazines and vintage prints.
3. Vera Viola
With only 60 vintage photographs currently for sale, Vera Viola is definitely not comparable in size to the two sellers mentioned above or below. However, she does have a lot of gems including several post mortem photographs (not really my thing, but I’m sure there are collectors.) I bought from the shop several times and found the shop keeper so nice and personable that I think she’s definitely worth a mention. She also has some nice vintage wares of other sorts on offer.
Moving away from etsy, there are also two ebay sellers here in Germany that I highly recommend, both of whom also ship internationally. With over 2000 photographs on offer, the seller Reiselaeufer has some amazing photographs including many Daguerreotypes and some erotic photographs as well as your average vintage faire. What I’ve been especially happy with are the vintage 8 by 10 press photos I’ve found there. I’ve bought at least 5 of them in the past and they were all amazing. For the most part, his photographs aren’t especially cheap, but they are very special finds and worth every penny to a true collector.
Another German-based ebay seller, LaCarlotta1900 has a much smaller selection (around 230 photographs) but each of the photographs seem to have been selected with care and are priced nicely for their quality and uniqueness.