Questions about gelatin silver prints
Hello! This is question for collectors indeed. Can anybody tell me:
How do you decide to buy or not to buy gelatine silver prints?
How do you determine if print is gold or platinum toned or it got color thru a long time?
How to determine technics in what the print made (paper negative, wet plate collodion, film negative, contact print, etc.)?
How to determine the time when print made if there is no date on verso?
The matter is - that I have a lot of gelatin silver prints 20x24 and 8x10, all of them on fiber baryta base very heavy paper, some have gold and some platinum tone, but I'm not sure that they was toned. I found one damaged print form this collection and sold it on ebay for 48USD, but I feel that this prints more expensive. Prints have no dates, only stamps and some have names and author signature of unknown russian photographer.
How do you think is this collectible or not?
I put here a few photos of 20x24 prints.
Thank you and best regards, Andrey
Last edited by photojournalism; 07-16-2008 at 05:58 PM. Click to view previous post history.
One more question. May be anyone know any experts in gelatine silver prints?
Thank you, Andrey, firstname.lastname@example.org
They don't all look like gelatine silver to me...
The photogram (leaf) looks like it might be collodion silver, and number 1 and 4 look a little more like albumen. The ruins (no. 6) looks like it might be a print from a paper negative? But it's very difficult to see the difference, especially on a computer screen.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Originally Posted by Ole
There is no doubt that it is silver prints on baryta base paper, but I'm interested about technic they was made.
Yes, I agree that it's too difficult to recognise technic by a digital images, but I've no other way.
Regards, Andrey. email@example.com
If anybody knows any autorised expert in this question I'm ready to send him one print and pay for expertise. Thanks all.
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As Ole says many look older than silver gelatin prints, getting an opinion on one won't bethat helpful, as it would be the collection that's potentially valuable. You need to show them to a museum curator who specialises in photography. In the UK the National Portrait Gallery would be a good start, but you must have similar in Russia.
If they are as you say Baryta based paper prints they'd most likely be modern prints off old glass negatives and have little value.
I have posted a link in the APUG links section to an online available book (in PDF format) that exactly discusses your questions, you can find it in the "Links" section of APUG, under "Publications/Books". The book is titled:
"PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 19th CENTURY: A process identification guide"
and is by William E. Leyshon
It will answer a lot of your questions, but be aware though, that it will also show that unless you have a fully equipped professional chemistry lab, and something like an electron microscope available, making exact process and print identification may simply be impossible...
And be careful of people trying to judge something simply by eye, different (toning) processes may lead to visually very similar results. So something "appearing" to be gold toned or from a certain specific old photographic process, may not be at all what one thinks it is.
I also think that it's modern prints because the paper in very good condition.