Undoubtedly, your grandfather's photographs of Nina Simone will be of
interest to somebody. But - what niche is the best to pursue?
Historical photographs, musical/jazz memorabilia, perhaps even black
history collectibles? Since the photographs were not taken by a
professional photographer (I assume your grandfather was not - am I
right?), I imagine the interest in these photos will either from a
private collector who loves Nina Simone, in particular, a general
collector of photos and memorabilia of jazz musicians, or a museum or
archive devoted to historical figures in the music industry or to
African-American figures of note.
I think your best bet, on the outset, will be to make some phone
calls to see what type of interest might be out there. You can
certainly have them appraised, as well, but the trick is finding the
right appraiser for the job.
I have compiled some suggestions for you, and some potential contacts
that might help you determine value or point you to collectors.
POTENTIAL CONTACTS FOR DONATION, APPRAISAL OR SALE
1. Due to their intensely intimate and personal nature, have you
thought about offering the pictures to Lisa Celeste? Who better to
appreciate them? Of course, you are in no way obligated to contact her
and it was simply my first thought.
Here is a recent interview with Lisa Celeste "Simone", in which she
states how much she still misses her mother. Unfortunately, I have not
run across any contact information for her.
"An Interview With Simone: A Musical Legacy."
2. Getting an Appraisal.
The primary problem with appraisals is finding the right person! As I
mentioned earlier, your wonderfully unique photographers were not
taken by a professional photographer, they are not autographed, they
are not of Simone's concerts, and they are not part of a larger
musical collection. However, there may very well be collectors out
there who would be very interested in them. While I ran across several
forums devoted to jazz memoribilia, I did not find any requests for
photographs of this nature.
It is entirely probably that an outfit like Doyle might be willing to
offer an appraisal estimate, or at least point you in the right
directions. Doyle will be hosting two free appraisal events in the
Washington, D.C. area in the next few weeks. Before you go, I think it
would be wise to call and ask if they will view your photographs
(since these types of items are not listed in the appraisal event
WASHINGTON, DC APPRAISAL DAYS AT DOYLE NEW YORK IN GEORGETOWN
1211 Potomac Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Friday, November 17 - By appointment
Saturday, December 9 - By appointment
"Doyle New York holds regularly scheduled free appraisal days in the
Washington, DC area at our Georgetown office. Our team of appraisers,
most of whom are featured on the PBS television series Antiques
Roadshow, will provide free verbal evaluations for collectors seeking
to auction jewelry, paintings, furniture and decorations (photographs
are acceptable). Limit three items at Walk-in appraisal days.
For information or an appointment, please call Doyle Washington, DC
Regional Representative Reid Dunavant at 202-342-6100, or email
The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Reading Room has
included a list of appraisers who focus on photographic appraisals on
their website. Even if these individuals do not appraise the types of
photos you own, I am sure they can point you in the right direction.
At the very least, you can email each of them for their opinion.
As you can see, the drop-down list on the American Society of
Appraiser's website does not include a category for collectible
photographs such as yours, which might indicate that you will need to
do a fair amount of calling around to get some estimates or pointers
to collectors. However, I would not hesitate to call them to get a
referral to the right appraiser for your collection!
Please refer to the Smithsonian Museum Conservations Institute website
concerning Artifact Appraisals -
3. Black History museums
During her early career, Nina Simone was noted for her stance on
civil rights. Perhaps a museum would value having these intimate
"She was a tireless champion of civil rights, and most of her
original compositions - including "To Be Young, Gifted and Black,"
"Old Jim Crow," "Why? (The King of Love Is Dead)," "Backlash Blues"
and "Mississippi Goddam" - addressed racism and the class system in
the United States....In a 1998 interview, Simone said she had "paid a
heavy price for fighting the establishment." That same year, she was a
special guest at Nelson Mandela?s 80th birthday celebration in
Johannesburg, South Africa. Among the eulogies read at her funeral was
this message from the South African government: "Nina Simone was a
part of our history. She fought for the liberation of black people. It
is with much pain that we received the news of her death."
From "Remembering Nina Simone," By Jody Kolodzey
At the very least, it would not hurt to contact some museums
concerning their interest or quizzing them for potential references to
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is in the
initial stages of development. This is a potential avenue for
donation, although they will not be taking donations until are
"The new museum will house priceless artifacts, documents and
recordings. It will bring to life the vibrant cultural contributions
African Americans have made to every facet of American life. Visitors
from around the world will learn about 400 years of struggle and of
progress. They will learn that the Capital itself owes its completion
to America?s first black man of science, Benjamin Bannaker, who
reconstructed the city?s layout from memory after Pierre L?Enfant quit
*** "Information about privately held materials that should be
considered for the museum?s collections should be forwarded to Tasha
Coleman in the Smithsonian?s Deputy Secretary?s office at
"The National Museum of African American History and Culture, like all
other Smithsonian museums, hopes to benefit from donations of
artifacts and financial support for exhibitions and public
programming. At this time, the Smithsonian Institution cannot accept
materials for the museum, unless they are deemed to be of significant
cultural importance and at risk of destruction or loss."
Another smaller museum:
The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
00 Clay Street Richmond, VA 23219
Email - BLACKHIST1@aol.com
3. Jazz Museums
The American Jazz Museum might buy the photographs from you, or accept
them as a donation.
"The mission of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City is to
celebrate and exhibit the experience of jazz as an original American
art form through research, exhibition, education, and performance at
one of the country's jazz crossroads - 18th and Vine. The American
Jazz Museum is the premier jazz museum in the United States in an
ever-growing field of music institutions. We are a world class
destination dedicated to public service and collaborative efforts to
expand the influence and knowledge of Jazz - America's classical music
- to the Greater Kansas City Area and audiences worldwide."
Celebrating the artistic, historical, and cultural contributions of
jazz, the American Jazz Museum includes:
* Rare photos, album covers, memorabilia, and personal items telling
the stories of jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella
Fitzgerald, and Charlie Parker....
Email the American Jazz Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - 816-474-8463
It is worth picking the brain of someone at the LA Jazz Institute:
"The Los Angeles Jazz Institute houses and maintains one of the
largest jazz archives in the world. All styles and eras are
represented with a special emphasis on the preservation and
documentation of jazz in Southern California. The overall mission of
the Jazz Institute is to preserve, promote and perpetuate the heritage
of this important American art form."
4. Another suggestion is to email or make a phone call to a
photographer like Herb Snitzer, who has taken photographs of many of
the great jazz musicians and has ties to many private collectors.
Perhaps he can provide you with some guidance concerning the value of
your photographs as well as private collectors who might be
The following references his photographs of Nina Simone, among others:
"Herb Snitzer began photographing for major magazines -Life, Look, The
Saturday Evening Post and Time-shortly after he graduated from the
Philadelphia College of Art and moved to New York City in 1957. His
dual posts at Metronome as photography and associate editor of
Metronome enabled him to meet, photograph and become friends with many
of the great jazz musicians of that era: Miles Davis, Nina Simone,
Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Count Basie, and other jazz luminaries.
He has participated in over 100 single and group exhibitions. His work
is collected by many museums and private collectors, and his images
are frequently used by Sony, Vanguard, & Verve as cover artwork.
Snitzer has recently published his fifth book, Jazz: A Visual Journey,
a collection of photographs from the world of music. Currently he is
photographing St. Petersburg for an historical record project."
c/o Dameron Carol Marie Studio
1600 4th Street South
St Petersburg, Florida 33701-5809
Herb Sniter recently published a book of photographs titled "Jazz, a
Visual Journey." http://www.allaboutjazz.com/gallery/hsnitzer.htm
Have you seen the book "Nina Simone: Black is the Color," published by
Andy Stroud, Nina Simone's husband, manager & producer, from 1960 to
"Andy Stroud, who was Nina Simone's husband, manager & producer, from
1960 to 1970, and father of their daughter Lisa (born 1961), has just
published a picture book entitled Nina Simone "Black Is The Color", a
compilation of 185 rare and previously unreleased photographs and
quotes in her own words.
View "Black is the Color" on Amazon.com
Some interesting background about Nina Simone can be found on the following links:
An entire forum community has been devoted to Nina Simone, where you
might pick up some more information!
I hope I have been able to provide you with some avenues to pursue as
you determine what you might want to do with the rare photographs you
have in your possession!
If you need further help, please don't hesitate to ask. I will do my best!
Nina Simone photos
Nina Simone website
Nina Simone memorabillia collectibles photographs
Lisa Celeste Stroud
jazz musicians museum
appraisal of historical or celebrity photographs
Washington D.C. photo appraisals or appraiser
jazz memorabilia collectors
photograph appraisers Washington D.C.