Ambrotype Photographs



2015-06-26 11:13:45

Ambrotype Photographs are photographic images created using glass negatives.

Brief history and description

Ambrotype photographs were invented by Frederick Scott Archer, who was originally from either Bishop's Stortford or Hertford in the UK, (although James Ambrose Cutting first came up with the term "ambrotype" in 1854).

Ambrotype photographs are typically shiny in appearance, and are created as negatives on a piece of glass and then transfered to a black background.

Ambrotypes were incredibly popular during the mid to late 1800s, however, it is not uncommon to find photographers and/or artists who still practice ambrotype photography today.

Guide for collectors

Ambrotypes of historical and notable individuals are considered to be the most rare and valuable.

Given the delicacy of an ambrotype photograph, it is incredibly rare to find an ambrotype without any wear and tear. Because of this, restoration of an ambrotype is not recommended, as restoring an ambrotype will decrease its value.

For more information regarding Ambrotypes, visit the official website of the Royal Photograph Society, as well as the official website for The Daguerreian Society.


Bloomsbury Auctions in New York sold a sixth-plate ambrotype portrait of John D. Rockefeller, which was taken by William C. North (circa 1858) for $65,000 in October of 2007.

Jackson's Auction in Cedar Falls, Iowa sold a quarter-plate Frederick Douglass ambrotype portrait (circa 1870s) for $20,000 in August of 2010.

Swann Auction Galleries in New York, New York sold a sixth-plate ruby ambrotype of George Armstrong Custer as a graduating cadet at West Point (circa 1861) for $20,000 in October of 2004.

Simpson Galleries in Houston, Texas sol a half-plate ambrotpe of an unknown Confederate soldier for $6,500 in January of 2008.

Ambrotypes of Abraham Lincoln can be worth between $5,000 and $9,000.

Robert Edward Auctions in Watchung, New Jersey sold a quarter-plate ambrotype photograph of Alexander Joy Cartwright (circa 1860) for $8,000 in May of 2004.

Cowan's Auctions in Cincinnati, Ohio sold a sixth-plate ambrotype of John 'Bud" Shirley (circa 1920) for $9,000 in November of 2005.

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