ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Collecting Vintage Photos

Updated on February 7, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Why would someone want to collect vintage photographs?

People collect them for a variety of reasons. Probably the major reason that people collect vintage photographs is that they enjoy looking at the images. When you look at a vintage photo you are looking into someone else's life. You are looking backwards through time and into an era that no longer exists, nor will exist ever again.

By collecting these images you are helping to preserve them for future generations. And who knows? You may come across an image that is worth thousands of dollars.

It could happen!

How to Decide What to Collect

The hardest part of collecting anything is deciding exactly what to collect.

How specific do you want to be? Will you collect vintage architectural photographs or just houses, or even just houses with women standing on the porch? The ability to be as specific or as all- encompassing as you want to be is one of the benefits of photography collecting.

Some of the most popular subjects are:

  • women
  • children
  • holidays
  • architecture
  • sports
  • famous people
  • post cards
  • wedding portraits
  • vintage movie photos
  • vintage glamour photos
  • vintage military photos

Within those categories are hundreds of possibilities for sub-categories. There are other collecting criteria that you can use.

  • the artist

  • the subject of the image

  • the date the image was taken

  • a certain area of the country

  • signed photographs

All of these make good vintage photograph collections.

Vintage Photos as an Investment

Collecting vintage photos can be an investment but for most people it is just a passion like any other collection. The images will not lose money so you can plan to sell them for at least what you bought them for, at least most of the time. They may not go up in value though so you need to decide if you want to collect or you want to invest. If you wish to invest then gold and crude oil are doing very well at the moment.

There are photographers whose work is so sought after that collectors will pay top dollar, sometimes thousands, for it. Names like Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Mary Ellen Mark come to mind. Images by these photographers are sold in galleries and command the highest prices.

Other types of photographs may be great investments without costing your yearly take home pay. Most vintage photographs are very affordable, and many are under five dollars.

A couple of tips for collecting with an eye to investing:

  • Try to choose a popular genre.

  • Collect originals that are in good condition.

  • Display and store them carefully.

Where to Find Vintage Photographs?

You have decided on your genre and your budget, now where do you find these great photos?

Ebay, of course is one of the best resources out there for vintage photographic images. Always work with a reputable dealer. Ask questions and be sure you understand the payment and return policies.

You may find vintage images other places for less money. Consider local venues such as:

  • thrift stores

  • antique shops

  • garage sales

  • a relative's attic

How to Care for Your Collectible Photographs

  • Use acid free products. Album pages, photo corners and storage boxes will keep your photographs in good condition.
  • Use plastic page protectors if you must but make sure that they are PVC free. It is a chemical that will turn your images yellow and can also make them sticky.
  • Store them in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. To display our images use metal frames rather than wood. Wood contains acids that can react with your images.
  • If you will be matting your image use acid free mat board, acid free linen tape, and acid free photo corners.
  • Use glass in the frame that blocks the UV rays. You can get this at many frame stores

Enjoy Your Collection

Most of all, remember to enjoy your vintage photo collection! Add to it as you find things that you absolutely love. Share the images with your family and friends. Hours spent looking at these amazing bits of history are memorable. Once you start collecting you may not be able to stop!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Wow... Thank you!

    • PETER UNDERHILL profile image


      6 years ago

      Marye Audet

      Your are a real gem, and I say that not because I am a Texan too. You are one of the creative people who bring new life to this world and particularly the world of writers, and would-be writers. You are a confidence builder.

    • FW Keyes profile image

      FW Keyes 

      6 years ago

      I love old photographs,I hadn't thought about collecting old photographs though, I use them mainly for ephemera projects.

      Thank you for such an interesting post.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love the article. I collect vintage photos and reap picture postcards with dogs and horses as the main subject. Getting very popular, as I used to be an only bidder for a long time for example, on ebay, and now Im always getting out bid! So much fun , and I really enjoy them.

    • MtnMan56 profile image


      10 years ago

      I collect pictures,put them up,and forget them!Thanks for the article.It's great!

    • Marlene_OnTheWall profile image


      10 years ago from Singapore

      I love old photos. particularly of places as they were long ago. It's so interesting to look back and see what a place used to look like. thanks for an interesting article!

    • jacobworld profile image

      Jakub Wawrzyniak 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      I have a friend in Ireland that is collecting them and has lots of interesting ones.

      The only problem there is that he needs lots of room for them LOL

    • donnaleemason profile image


      10 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      That was very interesting Marye!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)