Sometimes to really see the difference with the cards you need to compare them to the originals. Here are a selection of original cards that have been found on line. Some of them are part of private collections (and are considered to be in near mint condition), some were being offered for sale. When possible the current sale price (as of 2010) is listed. The total value for just the cards with prices exceeds $6,000! The same seven cards would cost less than $200 from us, without any damage and in color! Who knows the cost if you purchased all of the originals!
This card of Lincoln and McClellan meeting is listed for $1,200. The damage is obvious, from the chips missing from the card, worn, faded with numerous spots. Some of the damage (i.e. the number “602” on the right) was intentional.
This Custer card is actually in great shape but pasted crooked on the card. The image has been rounded to make it appear more pleasing and some damage does exist on the background area of the card, also note that the date was wrong. Custer did not obtain this rank until 1865.
A copy of this card sold for $1,800 in 2009. This version is actually better than the one for sale. Note: There are numerous spots on his uniform, in the tent area and overall it is faded in the details.
If you look at the right you will see a series of vertical dots running the length of the image. There are also noticeable lines on the right image near Custers left boot, between Washington’s legs, and just to the right of his right leg.
A copy of this card is currently for sale at $1200. Notice the damage to the card, number “730” on left image, the areas below the bottom pew have noticeable spots.
A large spot is visible on the upper left image. The canon on the right was cropped at the muzzle and the front hoofs on both sides are cut off. There is also a lot of fading due to age. This card is still in remarkable condition.
The sailor holding the cook pot is completely removed, much of the upper canopy is missing and detail on the right is gone. This shot was cropped to narrow the focus and lost some of the detail. Notice also a large spot in the canopy on the right as well as on the sailor farthest right. Other damge such as lines and does appear on the left.
This is a small image of a card selling for $650. Note fading and a few marks in the sky area lose some of the detail for this image.
$375 will buy you this card. Note the number at bottom left of the right image. Note also spots between the crutches on the left, on wall to right on gun and in the right image in the lower left corner near the number.
Besides a few spots in the bottom of the right card and some along the center between the images this card is in very good shape. Look at the faded appearance of this card compared to the restored one.
The Library of Congress actually owns this one (featured on the Brownell page). Note that our restored copy attempted to mimic the look of the card. Only one side of the image existed and we used 3D simulation software to reproduce both sides.
This iconic image is available for only $800 the sky shows many damage and almost no detail (note leaves appear the the top and right of the image and are not damage). Note the number “2397” in the lower right of the left image.
This near perfect card is still faded and lacking detail around the gun and sailor.
This card was a bargain at $175. Notice the numerous spots in the sky and the fading as well as a large damage spot in the lower right of the right image.
This card was cropped and loses many of the soldiers. Also notice that the image is much darker on the right than the left. The soldiers on the left are almost gone at the back of the image. In addition there is a diagonal line in the upper left of the left image and a large spot just above the soldiers on the right image.
Near perfect this image is dark and loses some detail in the shadow area.
Other than the number “3175” in the right image this is nearly perfect. This is a good comparison between a color and black and white card.
While the version of this card is in remarkably good shape notice a large odd shaped damage in the upper right corner of the right image. This also appears on the negative and is most likely the cause of damage from poorly mixed chemicals, or perhaps a problem during developing. Since this damage existed on the original negative the area was carefully corrected to match the left side of the image. Also notice the superior detail that is brought back out in a full color restoration.