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  #1  
Old 01-25-2019, 07:31 AM
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Default The PSA Type System: Should it follow the photography market?

PSA’s photo type system was meant to replace the system that has long been used in the larger photography market, where people buy and sell works by the likes of Walker Evans, Edward Weston, and Cindy Sherman. The photography market has shown no signs of taking it up, and that is because the photography market’s methodology is more flexible and superior, as the following two examples will reveal.

The first thing a visitor to Nat Fein’s house saw was a 16x20 print of the image he called Three Bows Out. He considered it his ur-print, the representative example by which he wanted you to know his work. But that very print that was displayed by Fein’s front door will never be designated Type 1 by PSA because of the limitations of the Type system.

There is a 16x20 print that was probably printed around 1948—at the very least, we know it was unlikely to have been printed after around 1954 because there are no chemical brighteners in the paper, which would cause it to fluoresce. In the photography market, the print would be considered a vintage print, which is defined as one made at roughly the same time as the negative by the photographer himself or by a person or procedure satisfactory to the photographer. Occasionally, you will see a time limit of five years placed on what may be considered a vintage print, but the looser “at roughly the same time” is more common. That is because specific dates for exhibition or fine art prints are rarely known; unlike news photographs, they are not stamped with dates.

Let’s consider the 16x20 print from 1948-1954. Is it really worth less than one printed in 1950 if printed by Fein on the same paper and with the same methods? PSA believes the possibility of a 1954 dating makes it worth less than the 1950 print, though there is no possible explanation why.

PSA will never be able to “Type” an exhibition print like the one Fein had by his front door at all, because exhibition prints, lacking time stamps, can only be dated imprecisely. So a 16x20 vintage print from 1948-1954 will sell for one-third of an 8x10 from 1950 certified by PSA. That certainly seems like an opportunity to me.

Charles Conlon never printed for exhibition, but we do know that his house at 189 Alden Place in Englewood, NJ, where he lived during the 1920s and 1930s, was outfitted with darkroom sinks and that Conlon printed there. The Alden Place prints are the highest quality Conlon prints that exist. I own many. The paper was specifically made for contact prints from glass negatives. They greatly surpass the prints Conlon had made by third parties—including presumably the photo department at The Evening Telegram—which vary greatly in quality.

The problem for PSA is that Conlon printed some of his earlier negatives—Ed Walsh’s spitter from 1913, for example—while at Alden Place. So, under the PSA system, a print by Conlon himself from the early 1920s, on the same paper specifically made for contact prints that he would have used in 1913, is not a vintage print; it is a Type 2. Meanwhile, a print made in 1915 by someone in The Evening Telegram’s photo department, printed without detail or any aesthetic consideration because it was for halftone reproduction, is a vintage, or Type 1, print. I believe that the Alden Place prints, because they are by Conlon himself and are of the same type of paper he would have used in 1913 are vintage prints.

As a net buyer, I welcome these anomalies, but the same anomalies also frustrate me as an occasional seller. PSA should adopt the larger photography market’s methodology.

Last edited by sphere and ash; 01-25-2019 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 01-25-2019, 11:18 AM
prewarsports prewarsports is offline
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Conlon used different paper sizes and types throughout his career and as far as I know, those are not used in dating. I have also seen his earlier stamps re-used on later paper making a definitive dating even more difficult. I tried for a few years to make a catalog of these for more accurate dating, but he made it pretty difficult!
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Last edited by prewarsports; 01-25-2019 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:12 PM
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As someone with a highly educated opinion, I would like to draw you out on the question at hand: does the PSA Type 1 definition improve or impair the definition used in the larger photography market?

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Conlon used different paper sizes and types throughout his career and as far as I know, those are not used in dating.
I think the use of various papers is consistent with Conlon frequently not doing his own printing. Also, when a third party is printing for halftone reproduction, the choice of paper barely matters. Whatever is there will suffice.

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I have also seen his earlier stamps re-used on later paper making a definitive dating even more difficult. I tried for a few years to make a catalog of these for more accurate dating, but he made it pretty difficult!
Are you saying that Conlon would use a stamp for 111th St. while living at, say, 118th St.? If so, I would love to see an example.
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Old 01-25-2019, 04:30 PM
prewarsports prewarsports is offline
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I have not seen address changed used after he moved, but I have seen earlier Evening Telegram and Spalding stamps used on later productions. This might have something to do with who actually made the prints and what stamps/ink was available at that office at the time.

I think the PSA system has helped draw attention to the photo industry and helped bring in a bigger audience for sure. I dont have anything negative to say about them and they do a good job at sticking to the parameters they have set. As someone who also deals in autographs and cards I can say I have never seen anything nefarious looking authenticated by PSA that made me think anything shady was going on in their photo authentication. I think it was a melding of the photo industry and the baseball card market and trying to bring them together to create a bigger audience. For that, it has absolutely worked!
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:22 PM
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It could be argued that the PSA system is a cataloging system for identification purposes, and valuation is a second question. I'm not a great fan of the system, and agree that the 2 year rule is arbitrary, but I don't believe anywhere does PSA say collectors and dealers have to value a photo strictly by how it fits in the system.

If you say a 1950 image printed in 1954 should worth the same as one printed in 1952, PSA no where says you shouldn't. It's just that it won't be cataloged as "Type 1" in their system.

Though I agree that it is a problem if collectors value and judge a photo just by how it fits in the PSA system-- and I'm sure many do.

My one big personal gripe with the systesm is calling an original photo "Type 1" is dumb. The word original is, and always was, self-explanatory and plain language, and it was pointless to change it to a number, color code of Egyptian hieroglyph. To me, the number system was like color coding animals, when the words 'cat,' 'dog' and 'eagle; were perfectly good and understood. Photography is my area of expertise and I have to look up what type II, III and IV signifies-- and I have no intention of memorizing it. Of course, that's just my personal sentiment, and if a Net54 says he likes the numbers, I won't say he's wrong-- but I will still think the hobby saying "Type 1" instead of original is dumb.

Last edited by drcy; 01-25-2019 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:26 AM
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It could be argued that the PSA system is a cataloging system for identification purposes
I would argue it is a cataloging system for news photographs only, and not for exhibition prints.

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Though I agree that it is a problem if collectors value and judge a photo just by how it fits in the PSA system-- and I'm sure many do.
Isn’t it inevitable? You’ll struggle in vain to find one auction result not in accord with the classification system. As a net buyer, I have to keep reminding myself that this works to my benefit.

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My one big personal gripe with the systesm is calling an original photo "Type 1" is dumb. The word original is, and always was, self-explanatory and plain language, and it was pointless to change it to a number, color code of Egyptian hieroglyph. To me, the number system was like color coding animals, when the words 'cat,' 'dog' and 'eagle; were perfectly good and understood. Photography is my area of expertise and I have to look up what type II, III and IV signifies-- and I have no intention of memorizing it. Of course, that's just my personal sentiment, and if a Net54 says he likes the numbers, I won't say he's wrong-- but I will still think the hobby saying "Type 1" instead of original is dumb.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:58 AM
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I would argue it is a cataloging system for news photographs only, and not for exhibition prints.
In the fine art photography world, with the famous artists, high quality later made and limited edition photos are valued and can catch high prices. They are appreciated differently, and the later made ones by Ansel Adams or David Baily will often be of highest quality, processes, etc.

I authenticated and cataloged for an auction house a collection of Civil War photos, and, amongst the other vintage and original CDVs and cabinet cards, the Abraham Lincoln photo that sold the most was from the 1890s. The key was it was a very large display photo made from the original negative and using the highest quality process (platinum) and the image was more than crystal clear. Plus, it was signed and dated on the back by the photographer who made it. And, of course, the 1890s means it was still a 19th century photo. It actually sold for more than an original Mathew Brady cabinet card of Lincoln. And, even as an 'age purist,' I knew that photo was special and worthy of the price.

However, in the historical artifacts areas, which most baseball collectors are involved in, age itself is an essential quality. If you're a Civil War or WWII collector, clearly you most desire items from that period. If you're a collector of Pre-history American Indian artifacts, a modern reproduction won't hack it except for as a cheap display piece on coffee table.

As a vintage collector, of baseball cards and historical items, the age has always been an essential quality. It's built into my collecting psychology. You know, if you want a Ty Cobb postcard, you naturally want one from his playing days not one from 1970. If you want a piece of Joe DiMaggio memorabilia, you most desire one from his playing days not retirement. So I've always been interested in the originals, with the later made ones not having the 'intrinsic' appeal to me. But, as I said, there are people in art circles, where the later made photos have appeal and are not considered lesser-- and we're talking here where the later photos were made by the photographer, made to be highest quality and limited edition.

Similarly, there are collecting areas where restoration is much more accepted than in baseball cards and memorabilia. Different collecting areas, different sentiments.

And of course there are cases where a buyer spends a lot on a baseball photo because it is original, rare and old, but doesn't take into consideration that the image is ugly. Aesthetics should always be an integral part of valuation-- and that may help explain why art people spend so much on the latter made ones. A major focus of theirs is on the physical quality and appearance. N172 Old Judge collectors often comment that PSA gives a technical grade that often doesn't take into consideration the eye appeal (or lack thereof) of what are literally little photographs. An N172 can get a high grade even if the image is underdeveloped, and an N172 can get a low grade for technical reasons (back damage) when the image is sharp. That shows that a condition grade is a technical condition grade and does not cover everything about the card. I'm not saying that's a fault of PSA as they spell out the parameters and specifics of what they are grading, but the person who would financially vale the card strictly by the grade. I don't have to tell anyone here that one PSA 7 1958 Topps Willie Mays can have better eye appeal than another PSA 7 1958 Topps Willia Mays, and the collector should price accordingly.

As I said, while they should be and will be valued substantially less than the originals, I can understand why a collector would buy the later made UPI photos of Cobb, Ruth and DiMaggio-- the images are often Grade A and made from the original negatives. Certainly, if you want to have photos to frame for your office or 'man cave' (hate that term) wall, UPI photos would be a great way to go. And they are official news photos, so have inherent value as collectibles and baseball/news artifacts.

Last edited by drcy; 01-26-2019 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:35 PM
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Wouldn't it be to the benefit of everyone if the auction houses, big and small, told us everything they could muster about a photograph. For example, "Conlon photo of Eddie Murphy, White Sox, likely printed in 1926 as Conlon has written 'Pittsburgh NL' below Murphy's name." Or, "Nat Stein photo of Ruth's farewell, probably printed after 1953 as the photograph paper failed the ultra violet light test."

If they can't do this, basic homework, they shouldn't be in business.

I'd rather not hear that the auction houses don't have the time or space. Consider the typical flowery bs from the glossy catalog guys...."Poignant last image of the Big Fella as he stands tall and faces baseball's Valhalla with courage and grace...." Blah, blah, blah. The Chicago people, who went to prison, by the way, were great at this kind of deception.

How many times have any of you waded through a four paragraph description of an item and still didn't know anything about the lot that was for sale? Are these guys selling swamp land to a bunch of farmers with too much money?
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:41 PM
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Wouldn't it be to the benefit of everyone if the auction houses, big and small, told us everything they could muster about a photograph. For example, "Conlon photo of Eddie Murphy, White Sox, likely printed in 1926 as Conlon has written 'Pittsburgh NL' below Murphy's name." Or, "Nat Fein photo of Ruth's farewell, probably printed after 1953 as the photograph paper failed the ultra violet light test."
I agree wholeheartedly.

Last edited by sphere and ash; 01-26-2019 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:01 AM
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I agree wholeheartedly.
That's the way I've always done it-- in plain words.

The PSA type system is a cataloging system, and, from what I've seen, PSA does an accurate job in authenticating photos. So I'm not coming hard down on them or their authentication abilities.

But collectors shouldn't treat the label as the be all and end all, and know that photographs are nuanced, and can't simply be defined by a type system. For example, the Lincoln photo I mentioned wasn't a Type 1 but had great financial value. And, of course, N172 Old Judge, Gypsy Queens and Four Base Hits aren't Type I photos.

And my additional addition that I often add is that PSA and other photo authenticators should never ever install a condition grading system. If that happened, ever other photo would be trimmed to get a better grade.

Last edited by drcy; 01-27-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:32 AM
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know that photographs are nuanced, and can't simply be defined by a type system.
In a sentence, this is what I’m saying.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:13 PM
Jersey City Giants Jersey City Giants is offline
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did Conlon produce many without stamps? I just purchased a photo that had writing in the back that was identical to writing I have seen on authentic Conlons. Can one determine it was one of his without the stamp?
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:18 PM
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did Conlon produce many without stamps? I just purchased a photo that had writing in the back that was identical to writing I have seen on authentic Conlons. Can one determine it was one of his without the stamp?
Conlons without stamps are relatively uncommon, but you can certainly find them. His handwriting is distinguishable, as on this Ruth
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File Type: jpg C0C28865-96A0-4413-A805-EF9A9C24AAFE.jpg (3.1 KB, 115 views)

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Old 01-27-2019, 03:46 PM
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Conlons without stamps are relatively uncommon, but you can certainly find them. His handwriting is distinguishable, as on this Ruth
Do be aware though that both his handwriting and his stamps have been forged with varying degrees of success. Somewhere in the archives is a thread regarding the stamping. As far as his handwriting, as with any, I guess you'd just have to see enough of the real thing to spot the fakes, though I've seen some pretty awful attempts.
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:31 PM
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The PSA type system is a cataloging system, and, from what I've seen, PSA does an accurate job in authenticating photos. So I'm not coming hard down on them or their authentication abilities.

But collectors shouldn't treat the label as the be all and end all, and know that photographs are nuanced, and can't simply be defined by a type system.

And my additional addition that I often add is that PSA and other photo authenticators should never ever install a condition grading system. If that happened, ever other photo would be trimmed to get a better grade.
This exactly. Just as with cards you will hear over and over "buy the card, not the flip." What is on the photo's "flip" as it comes back from PSA is a great summary of several of the aspects that affect a photo's desirability to collectors, but there are a number of subjective elements that figure into a photo's value as well.

The way I see it, knowing the Type under which PSA has classified the photo, buyers who are not looking at it in person don't have to try and discern tell-tale signs that would enable them to make the determination themselves. This can be particularly difficult when buying based on an image in an eBay listing taken with a crappy camera phone that only shows the front face of the photo. I may be able to discern whether it is a clear image of a desirable subject, but it is often difficult to parse much more than that from a novice seller's eBay posting. The seller's written description may provide some additional clues, but the terminology can often be misused, or terms from other collecting niches are misapplied. If I know what Type classification PSA has assigned to the photo, I can focus more on elements not covered in the Type classification, such as the clarity and desirability of the central image in the photo itself, rather than trying to determine if the print was produced more-recently than advertised. For every Rhys or David, whose descriptions accurately depict all I would need to know other than "do I like the image," there are a hundred would-be photo sellers who I wish would submit to PSA, just so that it wouldn't be such a crap-shoot as to what I can expect when I get that photo in the mail.

To me, this is similar to seeing a grade assigned to a card in that, while I may be looking at other aspects besides what is shown on the flip in determining whether to buy the card, at least I know that it is authentic before moving on to those other observations, rather than spending time scrutinizing how sharp the corners are on a misrepresented modern reprint.

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Old 01-27-2019, 08:11 PM
Jersey City Giants Jersey City Giants is offline
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here is the photo in question.

https://imgur.com/a/Hj10HR6

Last edited by Jersey City Giants; 01-27-2019 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:36 PM
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There are original Conlon photos with just his writing.

There was a series of forged Conlon stamps, the photos also containing his writing and signature. However, I'm not aware that any of the forgeries had just his writing (no stamp). So a learned opinion/comparison of the handwriting would solve your question.

P.s. The forged stamp was unique in design, meaning it didn't match Conlon's known real stamps and so can easily be identified.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:26 AM
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The 1914 dating raises the possibility that it was printed later. In the photography market it would be described as “1914, printed later” (someone might be able to tighten the range based on the paper). I believe PSA would describe it as Type 2, with all of its binary implications. This is a good example of the nuance drcy was calling for which the photography market is geared.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:41 AM
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The "Cubs 1914" is a little darker Pencil and the Cubs does not match the way Conlon wrote it out (especially the S) while the name matches Conlon's handwriting. Hence, I am thinking someone added that at a later date than the photo.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:42 AM
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I could be completely off here as I am a newbie to photos.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:04 AM
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Here is a question I have been pondering even before this photo. If something is printed later but is not dated and the era of the paper is the same how do they tell? Take this photo. it is labeled 1914 but that is incorrect as the uniform is from 1913 (the only year they used Cubs on the road when he played with them) and its the Image from his 1914 Fatima. However, how would anyone know when the print was exactly made? Was it 1914, 1915, 1920, 1930??? And if the production is in doubt (assuming paper checks out for period) how could anyone render an opinion at PSA or anywhere for that matter in terms of its Type? It could be a Type I or Type II but definitively putting one of those labels on it seems just a guess to me. Again, I am just talking about the Type designation not anything else.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:51 AM
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The "Cubs 1914" is a little darker Pencil and the Cubs does not match the way Conlon wrote it out (especially the S) while the name matches Conlon's handwriting. Hence, I am thinking someone added that at a later date than the photo.
The name and Cubs 1914 is in Charlie's hand. Often if you see a date written by Conlon it means that the print was produced well after the image was captured. Conlon would probably receive a request for a print of one of his older images and he would just produce a new print off of his original neg. I would think that he may have been inconsistent with writing dates on prints made off of an older neg = it can be tough to determine if a print was created near the date of image capture or well after. To make a best guess you must consider multiple factors: paper stock, stamp, written detail on back, photo margins, etc. This is assuming the print was produced from the original Conlon created neg.
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:12 AM
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The name and Cubs 1914 is in Charlie's hand. Often if you see a date written by Conlon it means that the print was produced well after the image was captured. Conlon would probably receive a request for a print of one of his older images and he would just produce a new print off of his original neg. I would think that he may have been inconsistent with writing dates on prints made off of an older neg = it can be tough to determine if a print was created near the date of image capture or well after. To make a best guess you must consider multiple factors: paper stock, stamp, written detail on back, photo margins, etc. This is assuming the print was produced from the original Conlon created neg.
But it all seems to boil down to a best guess after considering the paper type. In terms of collecting that is a lot of money riding on someone's "guess" IMHO. I know grading is subjective but I feel most of us are skillful enough to grade many of the cards on our own. Photo's without exact dates just seem like a crap shoot if you are gunning for Type I status regardless what PSA says.

In terms of cropping that would be meaningless to me as I developed my own negatives (I shot for my college newspaper and then as a freelancer after college) and sometimes played around with cropping the same photo different ways. This was all done in the same time frame (same day). Now I never dated any of the photos ( I did use a stamp but it was just to make sure anyone using the photo would have to credit me).
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:54 AM
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I would like to consider some of the comments that have been made in this thread, and then consider your photograph in the light of those comments.

lumberjack: “wouldn’t it be to the benefit of everyone if the auction houses, big and small, told us everything they could muster about a photograph.”

drcy: “That’s the way I’ve always done it—in plain words.”

drcy: “know that a photograph is nuanced, and can’t simply be defined by a type system.”

Of course you’re correct that there is some guesswork in photographs, but that guesswork exists whether one uses the PSA or photography market definitions. The question is: how should we think about your photograph?

I would begin with lumberjack’s advice: tell everything you can muster. So this is a Charles Conlon photograph, taken in 1913, printed later, or 1913, printed 1920s-1930s. I prefer “printed later” in this case because it might have been printed earlier, and we really have no idea. This is still a collectible print—it was printed during Conlon’s lifetime and probably by Conlon himself—but not as collectible as one stamped “July 7, 1913.” Both the photography market and PSA, confronting a date stamp like that, would have an easy time of it designating the print as “vintage” or “Type 1.”

The difference between a 1913 and a 1923 print is real, but not all-or-none, in my opinion. PSA may not have intended it, but the Type 2 designation essentially renders the photograph worthless. If you doubt that, try consigning it to a major auction house. I think the system fails to capture a lot of value.
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Jersey City Giants View Post
But it all seems to boil down to a best guess after considering the paper type. In terms of collecting that is a lot of money riding on someone's "guess" IMHO. I know grading is subjective but I feel most of us are skillful enough to grade many of the cards on our own. Photo's without exact dates just seem like a crap shoot if you are gunning for Type I status regardless what PSA says.

In terms of cropping that would be meaningless to me as I developed my own negatives (I shot for my college newspaper and then as a freelancer after college) and sometimes played around with cropping the same photo different ways. This was all done in the same time frame (same day). Now I never dated any of the photos ( I did use a stamp but it was just to make sure anyone using the photo would have to credit me).
Yes, grading/authentication in general is very subjective for sure. If you look at the grading of cards, usually advanced collectors know more about the cards being graded than the graders do. Yet so much emphasis is put on the standard of the PSA grade. The subjectivity of authenticating photos by a third party service is greater than that of cards. With photos, I feel that there is an even more pronounced difference between the knowledge of advanced collectors and the grading service. The collectors have more knowledge. I feel that PSA does a decent job with photos in general; but I prefer Rhys' process. PSA's (Henry's) type system was a great start, but it can be improved. PSA should start at the top - improve authentication of Conlon photos. You are correct Jersey City, there is a lot of $ riding on someone's subjective "guess."
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jersey City Giants View Post
Here is a question I have been pondering even before this photo. If something is printed later but is not dated and the era of the paper is the same how do they tell? Take this photo. it is labeled 1914 but that is incorrect as the uniform is from 1913 (the only year they used Cubs on the road when he played with them) and its the Image from his 1914 Fatima. However, how would anyone know when the print was exactly made? Was it 1914, 1915, 1920, 1930??? And if the production is in doubt (assuming paper checks out for period) how could anyone render an opinion at PSA or anywhere for that matter in terms of its Type? It could be a Type I or Type II but definitively putting one of those labels on it seems just a guess to me. Again, I am just talking about the Type designation not anything else.
That's a complicated question and you look at photo by photo and instance by instance. You can be sure a photo is period by looking at a number of qualities and things, and also the circumstances.

With news photos, they were news so, if the photo is identified as old, you can very fairly assume it was made very soon after the news event. Beyond the later re-issues (which are identified by the paper, blacklight, etc), 99+ percent of newsphotos were made within days after the image was shot, as they were meant to document the current news for the newspapers. That's the nature of news photos. Happily, news photos often have date stamps, tags and captions that also help date the photo precisely. Most wirephotos have the date it was made in the caption.

But there will be photos that you know are original (clarity of image showing it was made from the original negative, paper, process, signs of aging and often even the photographer's or studio's stamp), but you don't know the exact year it was made. This is why many photos are sold as "circa 1920 studio photo" or "1930s George Burke photo."

With 1800s photos you can be certain it was made in the 1800s, in major part because they used a long since defunct process (albumen), but you regularly don't know the particular year it was made. The cardboard mounts help you identify the timeframe as styles changed. Though you may not know the exact year, you can identify a cabinet card or CDV as being from the 1860s or 1880s or 1890s by the mount-- and of course the image itself gives help.

So there will be photos where you don't know the exact year it was made, and you don't say you know.

The perfect example for you is George Burke's photos. He reused his negatives of Ruth, Dimaggio, etc over the years. Due to the distinct paper, stamps and changing addresses he used, you can identify his vintage photos from the 1930s, but not know what exact year within the 1930s it was made. Could be 1933, could be 1935 or 1937. This, of course, says that these photos can't be defined by the PSA Type system because you don't have enough information to know where a particular photo fits within the their '2 year' rule. As for me, I call them "vintage 1930s George Burke" photos-- notice the lack of the word original. If someone else wants to label them original, that's a matter of opinion and definition. The 2 year rule was PSA's pick for their system. Someone else may say it should be 1 year, 3 year, 5 year or period. The first time I heard the 2 year rule was when PSA used it. The 2 years is arbitrary, but I also understand PSA wanting a specified rule/standard for their cataloging system. Any labeling or cataloging system is going to be imperfect, with artibrary and artificial choices-- though that says there are limitations of all labeling and cataloging systems.

"All models are wrong, but some are useful"-- famed British statistician George E.P. Box

There are lots of paintings in museums-- by Michelangelo, Da Vince, Vermeer--, where they know they are originals, but don't know the exact year it was made. This is complicated because some paintings too more than a year to make. Look at the labels at museums and you'll see all sorts of guestimates as the timeframe when something was made.

There are also baseball card issues that we know are real, but there are ongoing debates when they were exactly issued.

Last edited by drcy; 01-29-2019 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:13 PM
Jersey City Giants Jersey City Giants is offline
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Guys I really appreciate the great back and forth. My next question is if PSA does not know what year something was produced do they just return the photo or just slap on a Type 2 rating? I have never submitted a photo (I own one but bought it graded) but am curious.
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Old 01-28-2019, 02:00 PM
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I believe they will a photo return ungraded if they can't formed an opinion, such as with some blank back photos.
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:45 PM
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PSA "authentication" of photography is a beginning, not an end. It should not be a wall, but a step to take us to the next level. The "Type" system as simplistic and damning as it is has caused some great benefit. It has opened the gates for new collectors (and old) to enter with a certain level of comfort and the result has been increased interest, increased prices at the high end, a flood gate of new material coming in for us to ooh, ahh and bitch about and an increased sophistication to build on. And this convo is perfect for that build.

Its just like cards. The new era goes beyond the slabs. "Interpretation of the slab" which is in its infancy. "Buy the card not the slab" is a credo of increasing velocity. How ironic it would be where the hobby is in reverse and the slab is relevant? Essentially, we go to slabbed raw.

I know it hurts. When you have an image you know is great, really great, and it is weighed down by this (figurative) slab, and when you know more than the slabs or its slabber (?). But in the short term, you live by the slab, and you die by the slab. In some you have benefited (hopefully) and some you have lost (unfortunately and in your mind unfairly).

But have faith. Ultimately, the truth rises to the top. Hopefully in our lifetimes.
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Old 01-29-2019, 08:25 AM
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I collect and deal in boxer self-issued promo photos. One of the biggest frustrations for me with the PSA system is that these are usually treated as Type III under the PSA roof even though they are more desirable than a basic (Type I) photo of the boxer from some news service. This is the sort of photo i am talking about:



The other underserved type of photo are the head to head or composites made to promote specific fights:

Dempsey-Tunney II:



An example of the "tale of the tape" style that is still used today:



This came out of the press kit for the Thrilla in Manila:



None of them are 'type I' because all of them are composites, yet they are the best available items for these fights.

While I appreciate that the people who blindly follow PSA will undervalue photos like this, it is annoying as hell for the reasons everyone else mentions.
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Old 01-29-2019, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by joshleland View Post
But have faith. Ultimately, the truth rises to the top. Hopefully in our lifetimes.
Either you believe, as I do, that the plain language “vintage print” is better than “Type 1,“ or you don’t. And either you believe that the definition “one made roughly the same time as the negative by the photographer himself or by a person or procedure satisfactory to the photographer” is better than “one made within two years of the date of the negative” or you don’t. What do you believe?

This is a change PSA could make in a day. Why talk about lifetimes?

Last edited by sphere and ash; 01-29-2019 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
I collect and deal in boxer self-issued promo photos. One of the biggest frustrations for me with the PSA system is that these are usually treated as Type III under the PSA roof even though they are more desirable than a basic (Type I) photo of the boxer from some news service. This is the sort of photo i am talking about:



The other underserved type of photo are the head to head or composites made to promote specific fights:

Dempsey-Tunney II:



An example of the "tale of the tape" style that is still used today:



This came out of the press kit for the Thrilla in Manila:



None of them are 'type I' because all of them are composites, yet they are the best available items for these fights.

While I appreciate that the people who blindly follow PSA will undervalue photos like this, it is annoying as hell for the reasons everyone else mentions.
I don’t understand enough about how the self-issued promo photo is made to know why it isn’t a vintage print. Can you explain the arguments for and against?

I wouldn’t have any trouble accepting the composites as vintage, but I understand the other side of the argument.
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:41 AM
Jersey City Giants Jersey City Giants is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshleland View Post
PSA "authentication" of photography is a beginning, not an end. It should not be a wall, but a step to take us to the next level. The "Type" system as simplistic and damning as it is has caused some great benefit. It has opened the gates for new collectors (and old) to enter with a certain level of comfort and the result has been increased interest, increased prices at the high end, a flood gate of new material coming in for us to ooh, ahh and bitch about and an increased sophistication to build on. And this convo is perfect for that build.

Its just like cards. The new era goes beyond the slabs. "Interpretation of the slab" which is in its infancy. "Buy the card not the slab" is a credo of increasing velocity. How ironic it would be where the hobby is in reverse and the slab is relevant? Essentially, we go to slabbed raw.

I know it hurts. When you have an image you know is great, really great, and it is weighed down by this (figurative) slab, and when you know more than the slabs or its slabber (?). But in the short term, you live by the slab, and you die by the slab. In some you have benefited (hopefully) and some you have lost (unfortunately and in your mind unfairly).

But have faith. Ultimately, the truth rises to the top. Hopefully in our lifetimes.
I have yet to send a single photo in to slab but did purchase one slabbed. I will not be sending in my photo I linked as I think at best they would send it back as unknown at worst a Type II (I think the accurate way to describe it is a period print done by the photographer himself). I am just trying to educate myself on photos and as you can see had many questions. Again, I appreciate everyone's input here.

Happy Collecting,
Jason
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by sphere and ash View Post
I don’t understand enough about how the self-issued promo photo is made to know why it isn’t a vintage print. Can you explain the arguments for and against?

I wouldn’t have any trouble accepting the composites as vintage, but I understand the other side of the argument.
From PSA:

Type I – A 1st generation photograph, developed from the original negative, during the period (within approximately two years of when the picture was taken).

Type II – A photograph, developed from the original negative, during the period (more than approximately two years after the picture was taken).

Type III – A 2nd generation photograph, developed from a duplicate negative or wire transmission, during the period (within approximately two years of when the picture was taken).

Type IV – A 2nd generation photograph (or 3rd or later generation), developed from a duplicate negative or wire transmission, during a later period (more than approximately two years after the picture was taken).


The "original negative" is the issue. Composite images are the pre-digital photo-shop. They are made from pieces of other images, or the original image with graphics added, that are put together and made into one image. The Dempsey-Tunney, for example, has a photo of Soldier Field with cameos of Dempsey, Tunney and Rickard added to it. Then the composite is reshot as a single image and printed. PSA will label it a Type III and kill the value for those who use the slab as a shorthand for everything else. Yet it is a contemporaneously issued photo promoting a very significant contest, the famous "Long Count" fight where Tunney got 14 seconds to recover because Dempsey violated the newly enacted neutral corner rule after knocking Gene on his ass.

The other thing that I am not sure has been explained well enough is that PSA doesn't really deal with the fact that in mass produced commercial photography, as opposed to fine art, virtually nothing we would handle is printed from the true original negative. Negatives wear out. They get damaged. This is especially true of glass negatives. Standard practice was for the photographer to safeguard the original negative and then create duplicate negatives for working uses: repeated printings, sending to news outlets and wire services, etc. When I picked a giant archive of Hollywood materials decades ago I learned all this firsthand when I found multiple negatives and transparencies in the files. I thought I had original negatives. I didn't. The originals were sent out for duplication and then returned to storage with the owner or photographer and the duplicates were actually used to create the prints that we all collect. So this whole "from the original negative" stuff is just a guess.
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Last edited by Exhibitman; 01-29-2019 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:04 PM
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Collages and photos with before and after images (Current Babe Ruth next to a child Babe Ruth) are interesting examples.

Vintage is strictly about age. Original is vintage, but also has to be made from the original negative and by the photographer or official entity (ala magazine).

Also, in photography, vintage doesn't mean just 'old' (ala anything from before 1970) but from the time the image was shot. It's akin to a 'vintage 1976 wine.'

Last edited by drcy; 01-29-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:02 PM
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They are interesting because the elements added to them can make them more desirable than the original image. I mean, an image of Soldier Field from 1927 is nice. An image like the one I posted is way more significant. But the base image of Soldier Field is a Type I and mine is a Type III. A person who pays more attention to the slab--a shocking idea, I know--than the item might think it is a more valuable image simply by reason of the designation.
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Old 01-31-2019, 11:35 PM
joshleland joshleland is offline
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Originally Posted by sphere and ash View Post
Either you believe, as I do, that the plain language “vintage print” is better than “Type 1,“ or you don’t. And either you believe that the definition “one made roughly the same time as the negative by the photographer himself or by a person or procedure satisfactory to the photographer” is better than “one made within two years of the date of the negative” or you don’t. What do you believe?

This is a change PSA could make in a day. Why talk about lifetimes?
What do I believe Paul Reifers*n? I believe that the Wilcy Moore 1927 Yankee Road Jersey from the Halper Trunk Find that you sold me at the National about 25 years for $8,000 was a wonderful piece.

As for my beliefs on photography authentication, I will answer sometime after my auction which closes tomorrow night.

Last edited by joshleland; 02-01-2019 at 07:14 AM. Reason: google searching
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
The other thing that I am not sure has been explained well enough is that PSA doesn't really deal with the fact that in mass produced commercial photography, as opposed to fine art, virtually nothing we would handle is printed from the true original negative. Negatives wear out. They get damaged. This is especially true of glass negatives. Standard practice was for the photographer to safeguard the original negative and then create duplicate negatives for working uses: repeated printings, sending to news outlets and wire services, etc. When I picked a giant archive of Hollywood materials decades ago I learned all this firsthand when I found multiple negatives and transparencies in the files. I thought I had original negatives. I didn't. The originals were sent out for duplication and then returned to storage with the owner or photographer and the duplicates were actually used to create the prints that we all collect. So this whole "from the original negative" stuff is just a guess.
Pardon me, but I'm curious about this. When do you suppose these original hollywood negatives were sent out for duplication? And do you have any clue how this was done?

The reason I ask is because I did not think, at least with newspapers, that copies of negatives were ever created. Polaroid created a copy camera that would create a 4 x 5 negative from a photo, but I never heard of copying a negative from a negative.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SAllen2556 View Post
Pardon me, but I'm curious about this. When do you suppose these original hollywood negatives were sent out for duplication? And do you have any clue how this was done?

The reason I ask is because I did not think, at least with newspapers, that copies of negatives were ever created. Polaroid created a copy camera that would create a 4 x 5 negative from a photo, but I never heard of copying a negative from a negative.
Within his comment he states why this was done - they get lost and they wear out. Reusing a negative over and over again can damage it. Putting a negative strip into a neg holder, it looks like a waffle iron with a rectangular opening in the middle for the negative you wish to print, over and over again can cause scratches if the person printing is not careful. Additionally the light can affect the emulsion, especially on color negatives and transparencies (slides). It is was very common for photographers who shot transparencies to make dupes. There is this tube you can attach to your camera with an attachment on the end that can hold a slide. You can then take a picture of the slide, creating a duplicate. There is also a tabletop machine that can do the same. Some labs would also make internegatives from transparencies. These were 3x4 or so negatives made from the slide that could be used to make prints. One of the pro labs I used years ago would make internegatives for me when I was getting concert photos printed.
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