Eugene Omar Goldbeck Panorama Photographs
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $6,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:50)
Vice President & Director of Photographs
Swann Auction Galleries
APPRAISER: You've brought in a collection of photographs by a very important local photographer named Eugene Omar Goldbeck, E.O. Goldbeck. Would you like to tell me a bit about this?
GUEST: Well, we arrived in San Antonio in 1962. I would say around 1970, my husband started collecting these. And I really don't know where he got to meet Mr. Goldbeck the first time, but we went to his home, and he didn't consider them art. He would just, you know, throw them around. We bought some then. We were invited to a party somebody gave where he was selling them. He bought more. And over the years, we just kept collecting them.
APPRAISER: What was your husband paying for the photographs when he first started?
GUEST: Oh, to begin with, probably $10.
APPRAISER: Then you have about 25 of them?
GUEST: Somewheres between 25 and 30. It's hard to count them. They're all rolled up and you can't...
APPRAISER: Yes, well, we see a lot of these rolled-up photographs, which have been flattened for presentation. Goldbeck was America's unofficial military photographer.
APPRAISER: And this photograph before us on the table of the U.S.S. Saratoga in the Panama Canal shows the technique that he used. He worked with a circuit camera. And the circuit camera was a very special camera developed in the 1920s. Goldbeck used it from the 1920s through the 1960s. And the camera swiveled to take in large battleships, groups, and... Do you know this term that's associated with Goldbeck? He was called a kidnapper.
GUEST: No, I never heard that.
APPRAISER: Well, apparently he would steal photographs of groups of people and then approach the individuals in the groups individually so that he could make a living selling the photographs. So when we look at these photographs, one of the important features about them is the signature that appears in the lower right corner. Now, you had mentioned that your husband specifically asked...
GUEST: Mr. Goldbeck did not sign the pictures 'cause he didn't think they were anything but... just photographs. You know...
APPRAISER: And he wouldn't buy them without it. So that signature is really unusual and very vital to establishing the value of the pictures. Now, one other thing that I want to draw to your attention is that these are modern prints. So the original negatives may date in the... some cases from the 1920s...
GUEST: The '20s.
APPRAISER: 1920s, but the photographs themselves date from the 1970s. In terms of a value, I understand that galleries representing Goldbeck's work price the images from $1,000 to $3,000, depending, of course, on their size...
GUEST: Their size.
APPRAISER:...depending on their age and depending on their condition. Because the images are rolled up, sometimes they don't... Look very good. In terms of the four pictures-- in a retail environment, I would say they would be in the $4,000 to $6,000 price range. If you were to find a collection of 25 Goldbeck images in a retail setting, my sense is the value would be somewhere between $20,000 and $35,000 for the collection.
APPRAISER: This is a fantastic group of photographs. It couldn't relate more to San Antonio.
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