Two Japanese themed albums were recently put on sale at the bi-annual Swann Galleries auction of photographs on 15 May.
The album (oblong folio, worn leather with a von Stillfried lable on first leaf) by Baron Raimund von Stillfried contains 100 hand-coloured albumen photographs depicting "views and costumes of Japan," with a wonderful assortment of gay geishas, corpulent sumos, colourful costume studies, and picturesque topographic views, many with a caption in the negative, and a few with an inventory number. c. 1879
The estimate was between US$4,000 to US$6,000. It attracted 42 bids and went for US$38,000 + US$8550 (b.p). This works out to be US$465 per photograph!
The other album (oblong folio, red lacquer with gold sketched landscapes and ivory inlaid birds) by Kusakabe Kimbei (1841-1934) containing 50 hand-coloured albumen photographs of Japan with views of landscapes and geishas and other occupationals. The estimate was between US$4,000 to US$6,000.
It attracted 3 bids and went for US$4,000 + US$900 (b.p).