Ansel Adams Modern Prints, ca. 1960

Value (2009) | $15,000 Auction$25,000 Auction

I worked in Yosemite in 1971, and I came down for a weekend to visit my folks to bring more records back up to Yosemite. I stopped at a flea market in Castro Valley, and I recognized the photographs and I inquired as to how much they were, and he pulled one out, and I asked him, "Who took it?" and he gave me some line, a brother-in-law or somebody, so I kind of knew he didn't know what he had. I didn't really know what he had, but I asked, "Did you have any more?" He brought out two more. I paid $ 1.65 for three Ansel Adams. I think they're originals.

I know you're concerned as to whether Ansel Adams actually made these prints. And I believe he did make them. Number one, if we lookin the lower right corner of this print, which is called "Nevada Falls," we see that his signature clearly appears in ink below the photograph, which is typical of the display and presentation of Ansel Adams's prints. Earlier we looked at the back of the mount, and we saw that they each had a hand stamp. And that hand stamp did not have a ZIP code associated with it. ZIP codes were introduced around 1963, so the print date on the photographs could actually be as early as late 1950’s, since the hand stamp so clearly is an early Ansel Adams hand stamp. Ansel Adams revisited earlier negatives, because some of these negatives were made in the 30's and 40's, and printed from those early negatives prints in 14 by 11 inches, "Merced River," 11 by 14 inches, and then "Vernal Falls," slightly smaller. In the 1970s, as he got older, he delegated the printing responsibilities to Alan Ross. And in, when Alan Ross started working with Ansel and printing from these older negatives, Ansel wouldn't sign his name. He would initial the prints...


APPRAISER: indicate that he had seen them, that he had authorized them, but they weren't printed by him. Let's just focus on what is here, which are three Ansel Adams photographs probably printed in the 1960s. At auction, this group of photographs is worth $15,000 to $20,000.

(exhales) For all three of them?

For the three together.

Appraisal Details

Swann Auction Galleries
New York, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$15,000 Auction$25,000 Auction
San Jose, CA (August 15, 2009)

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