More than $100 million tax credit available for $15 million

April 25, 2018

Artifact Brokerage Firm LLC has announced the availability of a tax credit valued at more than $100 million for the asking price of $15 million. The D. Jay Culver collection, including more than 4.5 million historical photographs and ephemera, was last purchased in 2006 by its current owner. The collection, which has been organized but only minimally inspected, is now being let go in view of said owner’s advancing age. 

In addition, 640,000 high-resolution digitized images are included in the sale to buffer an Internal Revenue Service blockage appraisal. Each image is professionally estimated to be worth $100 in labor costs, bringing the collection’s total value to $163.2 million 

The collection was assessed in August by top fine art photography appraiser Lorraine Anne Davis (), who placed an intrinsic value on it of $99.2 million using the market sales comparison approach. She estimated the lowest and highest market value of random samples in each segment of the collection to determine an average, and then multiplied the average value by the estimated number of pieces in each segment. The segment estimates were then totaled to arrive at the intrinsic value. 

Separate from the Culver archives but included in the sale and the valuation are approximately 114,240 photos of 14,000 celebrities by Peter Borsari, who photographed every notable celebrity from 1965 to 1995.

D. Jay Culver began his collection of images in 1926 to provide pictures for well-known magazines and publications. He tracked down photos for assignments through second-hand bookstores, auctions of old libraries and even by inspecting attics. Where he was unable to find existing pictures to match an assignment, he would take original photographs. 

As Culver gathered photos, he amassed historical ephemera such as line drawings, sketches, engravings and plates produced from the 1600s to the mid-1900s. He also collected newspaper ephemera and photo archives from the 1800s and 1900s. His collections spanned multiple genres. Subjects included American politics, the development of theater and performing arts history, commerce, advertising, and 20th century American railroads.

He acquired the largest collection of movie stills from the 1900s to the 1930s by White Studios; the files of pioneer news photographers Edwin Levick and George Grantham Bain; opera pictures by the Mets photographer Herman Mishkin; photos from the Flo Ziegfeld collection on the performing arts, and works by Emmons, Weegee, Hamilton Wright and A. Audrey Bodine. In 1948, the Library of Congress purchased 1,600 photographic prints from his collection.

Culver continued collecting until his death in 1968, when he had the largest known assortment of images in the world. Today, it would rival the Getty collection.

A small sample of the collection can be seen at . For more information, visit, or contact 816-728-2103 or [email protected]

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