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Jeremy Rowe ©2000
activity in the market for photographs has increased the likelihood of false
attributions and has caused some forgeries to appear. In addition to simply
adding incorrect notations about subject or location on the mount, more sophisticated
efforts to mislead have appeared in recent years.
For Arizona related
material, false attributions for photographers such as Henry Buehman and Adam
C. Vroman have been placed on images with rubber stamps to identify them as
Arizona or Western photographs and improve salability. Some of these images
have even found their way into institutional collections in hopes that they
could be used to "prove" the correctness of other forgeries in the marketplace.
of forgeries and attempts to mislead include:
also been removed and remounted on more interesting mounts to increase value.
Use a loupe to view the edge of the image and mount to look for indications
of slight embossing of the mount in either side of the current image edge
remaining from the mounting of the previous image.
postcards have been falsified by adding rubber stamping logos and stamp
boxes onto vintage and contemporary photographs to make them appear to be
of military subjects taken at reenactments have also been portrayed - and
sold - as vintage. Material from the 1960's ad early 70s are particularly
troubling as they can have surface rust and can appear to be vintage. Under
a loop note anomalies such as riveted Levi's to help identify recent images.
tintypes of famous subjects such as Lincoln, Custer, and Sitting Bull in
paper CDV sized mounts began to hit the market in the 1970s. Tones are muddy
and surfaces often show dust, dirt and surface ripples in the emulsion.
of 19th century paper images and stereo halves are surfacing. Images are
primarily ethnographic and emphasize plains Indian images, including images
of Wounded Knee that are clearly not period. Tones are a bit flat and often
image borders are visible under the mat. Surfaces often show dust,
dirt and surface ripples in the emulsion.
Laser and inkjet
copy images mounted on period or reproduction card stock. Popular forgeries
include cartes de visites of civil war soldiers and personalities, and cabinet
cards of ethnographic subjects.
aluminum backing - 4 X 5 and whole plate reproduced en mass about 10 years
ago. Backing is black paint and any abrasion shows silver metal underneath.
Images include saloon interior, paddlewheel steamer interior, exterior view
of the Ferris wheel at the Colombian exhibition in Chicago (several have
been sold on eBay).
are sold as individual images, and inserted into albums. Be careful, look
at as many images as you can to get a feel for contrast, tone, and surface
textures. If the price is too good to be true the image may not be right.
as time goes on, and competition and value effect the market the number and
creativity of forgers will continue to grow. The best protection is knowledge,
either your own, or that of an expert.