Mar/Apr 2019 edition
Issue #4 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
It may have never crossed your mind to look at snapshots as a collectable, and you would be correct, 99% of the time. But… there are times that snapshots, whether taken by a seasoned photographer or just a lucky photographic happenstance, are worthy of your attention.
Looking for and finding that elusive 1% in antique stores, etc. will drive you to tears so leave that to others. There are swap-meet vendors in Europe, and online vendors who specialize in auto photography, and occasionally they will have an outstanding snapshot, many at reasonable prices as most early snapshots are small to very small so they are priced accordingly.
The first photograph here is of a Bugatti 101C with body designed by Virgil Exner, and coachbuilt by Ghia. I found it in an album of rather pedestrian car photos but this one spoke to me; outlandish styling, and the young lady along-side in period dress with a wonderful smile, how could anyone resist? Since it is a color photo probably printed in the late 1960s, to early 1970s I am afraid to display it, as color images from that era seem to fade rather quickly but I still enjoy owning it.
The tiny image of Caracciola’s Mercedes-Benz W125 streamliner on the steep banking at AVUS in Berlin in 1937 caught my attention, not for the typical snapshot image of the blurry car, but for the man that seems to be standing on the loud speaker.
These four small snapshot photographs would be valued in most cases less than $75 each if they were purchased from an automobilia dealer. If they were purchased from another more general source I would expect to pay somewhere in the $10 to $25 range. Some antique dealers think any image of a car is worth way more than it really is, so be prepared to barter. Just remember, the automobilia dealer might have looked at a million snapshots of puppies, anonymous relatives, old touring cars, farm implements, and combinations thereof to find one jewel, so consider the asking price a finder’s fee and well worth it!
To read more great columns like this one from automotive photography expert Dale LaFollette...
Vintage Auto Photography
Dale LaFollette, the owner of Vintage Motorphoto, specializes in rare and collectable original racing photographs. Explore his knowledge in this column.