Antique Railroad Photographs Values

Photographs taken during the early days of steam (pre-1900) were still rather unique as photography became available only in the early to mid 1800s. Common photographs from this period were builder’s prints (photographs of locomotives taken by manufacturers, these were often supplied to railroad supervisors or executives to display) and railroad commisioned photography (railroads hired photographers to photograph their trains in picturesque scenes for advertising purposes). Photographs from the 1900s are fairly common as the technology got cheaper and more widespread. Photographs of railroad themes by amateurs and enthusiasts are a popular part of the hobby, but do not tend to hold much value. Original builder’s prints or railroad commisions in original frames and mats can easily bring hundreds of dollars and often much more for pieces that are large, in excellent condition, or of unique and desirable subject matter.

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