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Russian officer photo - what's going on?

Great Dane

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I was following this eBay auction out of curiosity. Just wanted to check how it ended and almost fell from my chair...!

What makes this photo worth more than $500?

Is it 'just' the inflated prices we see on everything Russian these days or is there a better explanation? :unsure:

Is this guy famous?

The auction is here

Here is the photo for reference:


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Hi Mike,

That was an interesting batch of photos !

You can't really see that with the new ebay system, but (I scanned most auctions and had put in a few bids) the "massive" bids came from Russian Lands (2 different bidders : nubirus and gogol-spb), so you're spot on.

A couple points of interest re. the prices realized here :

- The condition of the photo is great.

- The photo is signed by "Bergamasco", a prestigious photographer.

- Photo of Alexander III don't come up that often.

And, what "makes" the price of this photo :

- This photo is Cabinet format (16,5 cm x 11).

Though invented in 1866, that larger format ("larger" compared to the somewhat tiny CDV, 10cm by 6) overcame the CDV only in the late 1880s. This one can definitely be considered an early Cabinet - quite rare displaying such a subject.

Though it's not the photo that made the most :

Chevalier Garde CDV

You'll note that this one is "only" a smaller CDV ; but photos depicting Chevalier Gardes are very, very rare.

On a broader note, with such photos you are adressing the photography collectors market, getting outside the "niche" of Militaria collectors.

The photography market being widely connected to the Art Market, there is NO upper limit to the price of photographs (if they are signed/attributed).



Edited by Djedj
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It took me quite a while to warm up to how much you can enjoy and learn from period photos. I began to take them seriously a couple of years ago and I have accumulated quite a number of them. So far this trip I'm sure I have bought more than 100. Most are simply stand-alone photos, some have accompanying documents and a few have accompanying medals and the like.

My favorite this trip is a signed 1907 photo of a young Tsarist officer and a couple of accompanying early Soviet documents and one tiny Red Crosss pin. His name is Karl Stromm. Since my name is Charles Stromme, you can see where that was something of a surprise. If you stretch your imagination just a little, I think you can see a family resemblance. At least, my friends here think so. The named documents are a Red Cross membership book and a MOPR book. There is still another badge to find but the owner has lost it for now. I hope it turns up.


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