Self-Framed Kodak Advertisement, ca. 1918
Appraised Value: $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:20)
GUEST: I found it up in Fortuna, North Dakota, which is really close to the Canadian border, and it was in an old antique shop which is no longer there and we bought it about 30 years ago.
APPRAISER: And how much did you pay for it?
GUEST: I paid $80 for it, which I thought was quite a bit back then-- really, in the '70s, I thought...
APPRAISER: That's a very adventurous buy...
GUEST: Yeah, I thought so.
APPRAISER: at the time. What attracted you to it?
GUEST: The picture itself, and I have some old cameras at home, so I thought, well, that may be a cute grouping, put the cameras next to the old picture and, you know, do something like that, but mainly it was just the picture itself. I thought it was just such a family...
APPRAISER: It's a nice composition. Right.
GUEST: Nice, cozy picture, so I just...
APPRAISER: It is that; it's very warm.
GUEST: She told me it was an advertisement.
GUEST: Have no idea how old it is, and I just now figured out it was a photograph. I thought it was a print.
APPRAISER: No, it's an actual photograph.
GUEST: Yeah. I had no idea it was a photograph.
APPRAISER: As far as dating it goes, it's sort of tough, because you can't really get a great look at the camera. It's a fairly large one, and there are some other clues in the picture. The length of her dress, for example. I date this picture between 1917 and 1919, because before that the dresses were lower and then by the '20s the dresses were creeping all the way up, and it fits in with that rather large camera. What you have here is what's called a self-framed advertisement. It's a term of art for when the legend of the company agrees with the product--
APPRAISER: --in the frame.
APPRAISER: They're much more common for liquor and beer advertisements, old breweriana-- very popular, those great big Budweiser self-framed pieces.
GUEST: Oh, yeah.
APPRAISER: Now, this advertisement back then would have most likely hung in a drugstore. I'm fascinated by the slogan. Kodak went through a period back in the teens and '20s where it was trying to make "kodak" a generic word, which is exactly the opposite of what most companies wanted, because they were afraid they would lose that registration on their company name, but Kodak was always trying to either change it into a verb or change the nature of the noun-- "Keep a Kodak Story." Eventually they gave up. That never caught on. I mean, they sold a lot of film, but they never succeeded in their slogan as part of the language. Now, you get around to the value of something like this. You have several elements working on it. First of all, self-framed advertisements are a big area of collecting. Another range of interest is old photography, and you have an actual photograph in a very large format.
GUEST: Yeah, which I just found out today.
APPRAISER: You have camera collectors.
APPRAISER: And period costume collectors. So, there's a lot of elements working together to... to push up the value of this, so once you put all those elements together, your $80 turns into approximately $3,000.
APPRAISER: Which is what this should get at a good advertising auction.
GUEST: Wow. That is wonderful.
GUEST: I figured, well, maybe $300. Three thousand dollars?
APPRAISER: Three thousand dollars.
APPRAISER: It's a beautiful piece. It has so much going for it and it's in beautiful condition also.
GUEST: Thank you.
APPRAISER: Thank you.
GUEST: $3,000-- whoa. That's amazing.
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