Photographs & Photobooks

Freeman’s team of photographs and photobooks specialists have a local, national, and international reputation for the sales of photographs through both our Philadelphia auction house and online. Our experts have a comprehensive knowledge of current market conditions, essential to the overall success of auctions of 19th century cased images, historical photographs, fine travel albums, portfolios, modern and contemporary photographs, and fine photobooks. 

Twentieth and 21st century artists are always well represented in Photographs & Photobooks auctions, including works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Berenice Abbott, Irving Penn, Lynn Davis, Edward Weston, Sally Mann, Diane Arbus, Sebastiao Salgado, and many more. Nineteenth and early 20th century photographers in recent auctions have included Francis Frith, Eugene Atget, Edward Curtis, Alfred Stieglitz, Southworth and Hawes, Robert MacPherson,  Bisson Frères, and Edward Steichen, as well as cabinet cards, cartes de visites, stereo views, tintypes and daguerreotypes by unknown artists featuring rare and noteworthy subjects.

The Photographs & Photobooks Department successfully won the consignment of the Avon Collection of photographs in 2013, the proceeds of which benefitted the Avon Foundation for Women: the company’s charitable organization dedicated to breast cancer research and ending domestic violence. This collection consisted of over 90 works by some of the most celebrated female photographers of the 20th century, including Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Berenice Abbott, and Sally Mann.

Freeman’s auctions consistently boast high sell-through rates and strong attendance of buyers in search of unique, interesting, fresh-to-market material. A records setting price was set in September 2013 for Bert Stern's iconic portfolio titled "The Last Sitting." Fueled in part by media frenzy prior to the auction, the portfolio of ten photographs of Marilyn Monroe, shot just six weeks before her death, soared to a record hammer price of $41,250.

 In 19th century photography successes, Francis Frith’s mammoth plate albumen print, “The Pyramids of Sakkarah From the North East,”  sold for $20,000, while an early daguerreotype by Philadelphia daguerreotypist Samuel Van Loan, featuring an African American nursemaid and two children, soared to an impressive hammer price of $8,125.

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