Q: I’m looking for information on two framed photos I have, one of Washington and one of Lincoln. The Lincoln photo shows him without a beard. I thought that might make it valuable. The photos are 42 inches high and 21 inches wide as they sit in the frame. The frames seem to be original. They were published by A.W. Elson & Co. of Boston. One photo has an 1893 copyright date and one an 1894 date. The frames have a label that says “Annesley & Co., Albany Art Gallery, 57 N. Pearl St., Albany, N.Y.” What can you tell me about them and their value?
A: You have one copy of a photograph and one copy of a well-known painting. The image of George Washington is from a painting by Gilbert Stuart done in 1796. William Henry Harrison was the first President to be photographed. His picture was taken on his inauguration day, March 4, 1841. He died a month later. The picture of Abraham Lincoln without a beard was taken before the end of 1860. It has been copied many times. A.W. Elson & Co., the printer and publisher, was in business from about 1893 to 1925. The company produced portraits, pictures of historical scenes, and reproductions of other artwork that were displayed in homes, civic buildings, schools, libraries, and other buildings. The company that made the frames, Annesley and Co., was in business from 1802 until about 1944. It was located at 57 N. Pearl Street address from 1875 to 1915. Copies of these pictures have been made. The frames are over 100 years old and may be worth more than the pictures. They sell for less than $150.