View Full Version : Old Negatives

04-02-2009, 08:20 PM
my dad was the owner & editor of a small town local newspaper for 40+ yrs and after that ran a printing shop. He passed away 5 yrs ago and we are cleaning his office and shop out to sell the building and have found in the attic boxes and boxes and boxes of old negitives. Some the size of newspapers and others in various sizes. I was told he use to sell these to someone in the 70's for the silver in them, but when silver prices bottemed out they quit buying. My dad still keep saving them.

Are they have any value? Have they been ruined because of the Louisiana Heat in an attic? If nothing else.................. will they burn in a bon fire because there are thousands of them.

Thank you in advance for your help

04-02-2009, 08:32 PM
They will have a historical value for shure.
Get in contact with your local historical society and tell them about it.

Cash value ?
Maybe the place where your local hospital ship their unwanted Xray's to to get the silver from them, but I would do that as a last resort.


mike c
04-02-2009, 08:40 PM
Try going threw them,might be some really nice negs in there.

David William White
04-02-2009, 09:25 PM
They are probably worth more as a historical record than as silver. Your town council might be able to provide a small grant to have prints made of some of them for your local archives.

If all else fails, send me some!

04-03-2009, 11:15 AM
The big ones that are the size of newspaper pages are just that - page negatives. They were used to make the printing plates from which the newspaper was printed. The smaller ones probably are the camera negatives reporters and photographers made for the newspaper.

The page negatives likely would be of less interest to a historical society or history museum than the reporters' original camera negatives. Those are a goldmine to such institutions.

Most libraries and historical museums probably have either microfilm or bound copies of the newspaper, so prints made from page negatives would be redundant. I would check first before recycling them. Yes, they can be recycled for silver content. As someone said above, find out where your local hospitals recycle their X-ray negatives. Silver is considered a heavy metal contaminant in water, so it is best to recycle.

Peter Gomena

04-03-2009, 12:15 PM
In my experience, local groups are often long on desire and short on resources and expertise.

If I were you, I would start by contacting the archivist - probably through the library - at your closest Louisiana regional university or even LSU.

Universities collect an amazing variety of stuff and are often the only institutions with the skills and funds to correctly preserve perishable items.

04-03-2009, 03:49 PM
Probably don't want to burn them, though--very likely the plastics and other chemicals are toxic.

04-07-2009, 10:46 AM
Don't throw anything away until you are sure what you have - I am currently going through my grandfather's photographic material from 1930 onwards - it takes time, but it is worth it.

Good luck with it.

Peter de Groot
08-13-2009, 09:55 AM
Like DWW said. If youstill have and don't know what to do with them send me a couple. I'm a sucker for old things like that.

Mike Wilde
08-13-2009, 10:50 AM
I'll second Kelvin - try to at least do an edit. I have inherited negs from my wifes grandfather. Everyday snaps around town in the 30's and 40's. They are facinating to me and others some 60 or more years on by what the places look like now.