John Rogers, an Arkansas businessman who has recently purchased other photo collections from prominent news sources, has announced that Legendary Auctions will handle the sale of selected, high-end pieces from his recent Chicago Sun-Times acquisition. The amazing array of high-quality black and white news photographs, many in a large 11-by-14 format, display some of the most recognizable images from both American and world history. While many of the photographs focus on Chicago-specific individuals, sports celebrities and events, an equal share of them record occurrences with global significance. This is due to the inclusion of wire photos and Chicago-based photojournalists who delivered world exposures through their local lenses. Online bidding at www.legendaryauctions.com will begin on Monday, Feb. 15 and conclude on Friday, Feb. 26.
Among the most exciting collection of images in the Legendary Auctions sale are those from Mark Shaw, a Chicago-based photographer who developed a strong friendship with President John F. Kennedy. He eventually became the Kennedys’ unofficial family photographer. Many of Shaw’s stunning and personal photographs of the First Family, which he shot originally for LIFE magazine, will be included in the Legendary Auctions sale. These photos of the President, Jacqueline and their children remain among the most famous and well-known of all Camelot imagery.
Other incredible subjects depicted in the Chicago Sun-Times archive include:
John Dillinger – an impressive collection of candid shots capturing the infamous gangster before…and after his final run-in with law enforcement at the Biograph.
Theatre of War – a glaring and stark assembly of photographs that chronicle the rise and fall of Hitler and Mussolini and the eventually victorious efforts of the Allies.
Newsmakers – from Pope John Paul II, to Elvis Presley, to Michael Jordan. If they made news, they were featured in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Doug Allen, CEO and president of Legendary Auctions admits to being “blown away” by the content and quality of the photos in the archive. “Each picture is more incredible than the next,” said Allen. “These photographs represent the exact type of items our customers expect from us – high-end, highly collectible and new to the market. I have no doubt these photos will be attract considerable attention in our February sale.”
Allen was so impressed by the scope and significance of the Sun-Times archive that Legendary Auctions added an extra day to the February auction’s closing schedule to accommodate the photographic lots. ”Typically, our Premier auction events close on a Wednesday and Thursday,” said Allen. “The sheer number of photographs, not to mention their historical and collectible importance, more than warranted an auction closing date of their own.”
Rogers, the individual behind the acquisition of the Sun-Times archive, was in the media spotlight in 2008 when he purchased a rare $1.6 million 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card. A vintage collector at heart, Rogers has been buying photo libraries for several years. Rogers has encountered some criticism regarding the sale of archival photos from those who believe the items should reside in museums. “I understand the sentiment behind this line of thought,” said Rogers. “But, the reality is that the sale of these photos generate revenue for the companies selling them and in many cases, especially with the Sun Times, they receive more than cash in the transaction, they get an updated archive in return.”
According to Rogers, his company, Rogers Photo Archives, purchased the photographs and negatives of the Sun-Times archives for “several million dollars” in cash and services. Rogers receives the rights to sell the actual photographs and the Sun-Times retains the actual copyrights to the images. As part of the transaction, Rogers will provide the Sun-Times with a digitized version of each photo with keywords, captions, dates and all pertinent information to create a far more usable archive for the newspaper in the future.
“This really is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Rogers. “The Sun-Times keeps the rights to their photos and gets them back in a far more usable archive format than they were before and collectors receive the opportunity to purchase a great, high-end photography collectible. And honestly, the preservation and care that most of these photos will get in private collectors hand will rival the attention they would receive in many museums. There just isn’t a downside in the deal.”
For additional details regarding the Sun-Times photo archive auction or to pre-register to bid in the February auction, call Legendary Auctions at 708-889-9380 or go to www.legendaryauctions.com