Clocking in at under two minutes, the below a very short video I made for an authentication tips column I write for Sports Collectors Daily. It shows a simple way to identify many black and white photographs as old. This is important if you’re at an antique store or estate sale and want to be confident that expensive, or even inexpensive, photo you’re about to buy is original not a modern reprint.
This is what the first Kodak snapshot photos looked like. This is a 5×3.75 inches 1890s albumen snapshot of Petersen House in Washington DC, where American President Abraham Lincoln died. The building was across the street from the Ford Theater where he was shot during a play by prominent actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. The first Kodak snapshots have a distinct a thin circular image photographic print pasted to a cardboard mount. The backs usually have the Eastman company stamping for easy identification. Eastman’s snapshot process was revolutionary, for the first time allowing the average person to take his own photographs and have the photos made for him or her via mail. Before then, photographs were usually only shot and made by well trained professionals with their own processing labs.