The history of stereoscopy is longer than that of photography and there are plenty of things to delight a collector’s heart. If you decide to take collecting seriously, you will soon realize that it is necessary to carve out a specific area of interest – or, usually, a few of them.
I remember a talk Denis Pellerin from the London Stereoscopic Company gave at the world congress of the International Stereoscopic Union in Lübeck in 2019. He defined three basic ways of collecting historic stereo photographs: by time, by subject or by person. Because I myself am focused only on glass stereo slides I would add collecting by technological aspect. When it comes to collecting viewers and cameras this seems to be important as well. Collecting by region or by manufacturer is also a possibility. If you aim to show other collector’s treasures as well, finding an appropriate way to categorise everything can be quite difficult.
What is the best way to display stereoscopic collectibles online? That is not an easy question to answer, but I’ve decided to start with the separation into three broad fields, namely stereoviews, stereoscopes, and stereo cameras. In this section, you will find tips on collecting and cataloguing stereoviews, stereoscopes, and stereo cameras as well as historical background, and also get to enjoy some treasures from private collections. . Get to know the what, where, and how of collecting, and even restoring your own stereo treasures here.
Glass stereo photograph of “Chateau de Rheinstein”, Germany by Duboscq-Soleil, Paris c. 1860. Author’s collection.
Kromskop for combining three black and white to one colour image, Frederic Ives, London c. 1897. Author’s collection.
Folding Stereocamera for 8.5x17 glass plates, Emil Busch AG, Germany c. 1908. Author’s collection
And what about catalogues? Yes, they are not only a source for historians, but they are true collectibles in their own right. Jules Richard, the French inventor of the Verascope and the Taxiphote, also sold a wide range of commercially produced stereo photo series. That means his catalogues technically belong to all three of the categories above. That does not make things easier. On this website, some collectibles will therefore appear more than once, in different sections, so as to give you the full picture for each category. On the blog, you can always find the latest content at the top. That way you’ll never miss anything.