The Gallery of Wallace Nutting-Like Pictures


Michael Ivankovich Antiques & Auction Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 1536 * Doylestown, PA 18901
(215)-345-6094 * E-Mail:
The Collector's Value Guide to Early 20th c. American Prints & The Hand-Painted Photographs of Charles Henry Sawyer are two excellent books for your research on the Hand-Colored Photographers of the early 20th century.

For more information on each of these books, see this link to our Reference Book Page

Collectors Value Guide to
Early 20th c. American Prints
256 pgs. $19.95
The Hand-Painted Photos
of Charles Henry Sawyer

60 pgs. $18.95

Although Wallace Nutting was widely recognized as the country's leading producer of hand-colored photographs during the early 20th century's Golden Age of Hand-Colored Photography (1900-1940), he was by no means the only photographer selling this style of picture. Throughout the country, literally hundreds of other photographers were selling hand-colored photographs from their home region or travels. The subject matter of these photographers was very comparable to Nutting's, including Interior, Exterior, Foreign, and Miscellaneous Unusual scenes. The key determinants of value include the collectibility of the particular photographer, and the picture's Subject Matter, Condition, and Size.

There is basically a 4-tiered, inverted pyramid hierarchy within the field of hand-colored photography. On the top and largest tier (A) are Wallace Nutting pictures...they represent the largest quantity of available pictures, are the pictures most sought-after by collectors, and as a general rule, command the highest retail prices overall.

The 2nd largest tier (B) represents the Big 3 of Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers...David Davidson (Providence RI), Charles Sawyer (Concord NH), and Fred Thompson (Portland ME), and each of these photographers worked with Wallace Nutting early in their careers and are collectible in their own right. They represent a sizable quantity of available pictures, are highly sought-after by many collectors, and as a general rule, command strong prices (although usually lower than comparable Wallace Nutting pictures). The collective total volume of all 3 combined photographers is significantly smaller than Nutting's overall total.

Below the Big 3 (tier C) are the hand-colored photographs which are signed or directly attributable to "lesser known" photographers. This group includes literally hundreds of photographers, some more readily findable (e.g., Charles Higgins , J.C. Bicknell, and H. Marshall Gardiner), and others not nearly so plentiful or collectible (e.g., Harris, Hodges, Lamson, Ward, and Wright, just to name a few). The collective total volume of all of the 100+ lesser-known photographers is significantly smaller than the combined output of the Big 3.

And at the bottom of the pyramid (tier D) both in volume and collectibility would be those hand- colored photographers not directly attributable to any particular photographer, studio, or company. Collectors collect these pictures based primarily on Subject Matter and Condition, and as a general rule, unsigned hand-colored pictures bring less than comparable pictures by a known photographer..

General Rule of Thumb: As in most other areas of antiques, Collectors collect "the name", with the name "Wallace Nutting" being the most collectible of all early 20th century hand-colored photographers.
In very simple economic terms, when too many people chase after too few goods, prices have a tendency to rise. In very simple terms, this is what is happening within the Early 20th c. Hand- Colored Photography market today...too many collectors and dealers are chasing after too few pictures...both Wallace Nutting Pictures...and Wallace Nutting-Like Pictures The net effect is that prices for those pictures remaining in circulation now cost more than ever...and quality hand-colored pictures have become increasingly difficult to find.

It's not that the number of pictures is decreasing, but rather that an increasing number of pictures are being purchased and held in private collections. These are usually the finest pictures, in the best condition, which, in effect. takes them out of circulation. Which is exactly what we are seeing today: The asking prices on common pictures, in poor quality, are generally higher than they were 12-24 months ago.

And as Wallace Nutting pictures have become increasingly more expensive and difficult to find, more collectors have been gravitating to the increasingly collectible, yet less expensive, pictures of other early 20th century photographers.

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Background Information on Wallace
Nutting-Like Photographers

Other Information on Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers