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Q: Unique photographs of Nina Simone and family from early 1960s ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Unique photographs of Nina Simone and family from early 1960s
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Celebrities
Asked by: spsteele-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 04 Nov 2006 08:48 PST
Expires: 04 Dec 2006 08:48 PST
Question ID: 780044
I have a series of photographs (no negatives) taken on the banks of
the Hudson River in or near New York City, by my paternal grandfather
in 1963 or early 1964, of jazz singer, pianist, and songwriter Nina
Simone, her then-husband Andy Stroud (an NYPD detective), and their
only daughter, Lisa Celeste (now known as "Simone"). The photographs
are incredibly intimate, showing Nina Simone and her toddler daughter
hugging, playing on a tricycle, sitting with one another, etc. Nina Simone is
strikingly beautiful and poised. To my knowledge, these photographs
are unique, one-of-a-kind, and very rare in their subject matter, age,
and intimacy. My question(s): how do I go about appraising their worth,
and potentially selling, auctioning, or donating them? How much might
they be worth to a serious collector or curator? Are there experts in
the Washington DC area I might consult in person?
Subject: Re: Unique photographs of Nina Simone and family from early 1960s
Answered By: umiat-ga on 04 Nov 2006 16:11 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

 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.


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
description below)

1211 Potomac Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Tel: 202-342-6100
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
the project."

*** "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 - 

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
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."

Herb Snitzer
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."

Additional Information

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


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!



Search Strategy

Nina Simone
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.

Request for Answer Clarification by spsteele-ga on 05 Nov 2006 18:57 PST
Thanks for your response. One follow-up: were you able to -- or would
you be willing to investigate -- the names/identities/contact
information for private collectors of Nina Simone memorabilia?


Clarification of Answer by umiat-ga on 05 Nov 2006 19:31 PST
Hi Sean!

 To be quite honest, I did not run across any private collectors of
Nina Simone memorabilia in my initial search. That was one of the
first avenues I investigated in hopes that I could point you in a
specific direction.

 The only recommendation I can give you is to post on the Nina Simone
forum or contact the president of the International fan club if you
want to connect with individuals who might be interested in the
pictures. Here are some examples:

The first person I would contact who might be very interested in your
pictures is Roger Nupie, the President of the International Nina
Simone Fan Club.

According to Nupie - "I have dedicated myself to documenting the life
of this extraordinary woman. I am proud to tell you that after years
of research I now posses one of the world's most complete archives on
the life and music of the legendary Dr. Nina Simone and can reply in
detail to almost any question one might have regarding the Diva."

 Contacts - 


You could also post a notice on the Nina Simone Community forum.



 I know this isn't much to go on, but I imagine Mr. Nupie might be a
very good source for potential collectors, if he is not interested in
the photos himself!

Wishing you all the best!


Clarification of Answer by umiat-ga on 06 Nov 2006 16:29 PST
Hi Sean,
 The primary reason researchers don't do much phone calling is because
the long-distance charges comes out of the researcher's pocket. As it
it, Google takes 25% of the question price right off the top, which
reduces the researcher's fee substantially. To add a number of
long-distance phone calls to a researcher's own phone bill would not
be very financially rewarding. In a private researcher-client
relationship, extra expenditures of this sort could be negotiated and
added to a contract. Unfortunately, GA does not provide for this type
of service. I hope you understand the reason for my hesitation in
making several long-distance calls in this type of scenario.
spsteele-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Comprehensive answer to my question, well-researched and presented.
One suggestion: researcher might want to supplement Internet-only
searches with phone research.

Subject: Re: Unique photographs of Nina Simone and family from early 1960s
From: ninasimonemuseum-ga on 21 Nov 2006 07:06 PST
To everyone reading this with an interest in Nina Simone,
There are several new and important developments in preserving the
life and music of Nina Simone.
The first is a an attempt in Nina Simone's own birthplace of Tryon,
NorthCarolina to create a substantial museum in her honor. This is in
the early phases, but I can tell you that images such as those
described here would be a great addition.

The second effort, and one which may eventually tie in to the musuem
and the broader attempt in Tryon to recognize Nina Simone and her
importance to the community, is the restoration of her family home,
which is currently being undertaken by a private benefactor.

For more information on any of these developments, or to discuss
donating or otherwise offering original Nina Simone related artifacts,
photographs and memorabilia, please feel free to contact me at:

Thanks to all with an interest in Nina Simone.

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