Alfred Stieglitz ”291“ Periodicals, ca. 1915

Value (2010) | $25,000 Retail

Well, this is a book that belonged to my uncle. He gave it to me a few years ago. He was an artist. He graduated from the Chicago Art Institute. It was given to him, I'm thinking, by somebody at the Art Institute. He told me the book was very valuable, but it didn't really mean much to me. He wanted me to get it appraised, so I sent pictures of the book and never heard back from them. Since then I've done a lot of research on the Internet, so I know a little bit about the book, and I thought, "Who better to take it to but ANTIQUES ROADSHOW?"

This is a series of periodicals. It's Alfred Stieglitz' famous "291" magazine that was named after his photographic studio in New York. The 12 issues were published between 1915 to '16, and it really represents the birth of modernism and avant garde in America. It was incredibly farseeing and ahead of its time for its day. Stieglitz and the others conceived the run as a whole 12-issue run. That's all they ever meant to publish. It was issued in an edition of 1,100 copies. 100 copies were printed on vellum, and the other thousand copies were on paper. This is the paper edition. We have the book opened here to the machine portraits, but I want to take a minute and turn to a couple of other pages. This is the cover of the very first issue here. These have been bound, but there's a complete set of all 12 of the issues of this just legendary magazine. It was a financial disaster for Stieglitz. Of the original print runs in the two editions, he sold eight subscriptions in vellum and 100 subscriptions on paper. The entire rest of the print run he sold to a rag picker in New York City for $5.80.


Full sets rarely come on the market. A full run of these in the condition that these are in would bring at retail approximately $25,000.

Wow. Wow. Well, my uncle always said it was something special.

Appraisal Details

Ken Sanders Rare Books
Salt Lake City, UT
Appraised value (2010)
$25,000 Retail
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)
20th Century

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