When Jay Parrino discovered the Culver Archives might be for sale, the prominent collector knew immediately what he had to do. Buy it. Now, the Kansas City businessman wants to sell his rare, coveted collection and is brokering the sale through Artifact Brokerage Firm LLC based in Kansas City.
"Owning even a little piece of this collection would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," explained the Kansas City resident who is no stranger to New York's auction houses, where he bought a rare 1913 Liberty nickel for a record-breaking $1.35 million. Twelve years ago, Parrino also bought the Culver archives for an undisclosed sum.
D. Jay Culver started the collection in New York in 1926 when he provided photos to major newspapers, magazines and movie studios of the time. When Culver died in 1968, his family held on to the 4.5 million rare artworks until 2006 when they sold it to Parrino.
The Culver collection is one of only three major stock photo and image agency collections from the 1900s. And two already have been sold. The Bettmann Archive was sold in 1996 and is now owned by Getty Images, and the Brown Brothers archive was broken up and sold in 2015.
Now the last major collection – the Culver archives – is for sale for $30.5 million. The collection is valued at $99.2 million, according to a fine art photography appraiser who has worked with the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The collection contains artwork by notable engravers such as William Hogarth, Thomas Nast, Thure de Thulstrup and Winslow Homer, and photographers such as George Grantham Bain, Edwin Lebick, Weegee and Herman Mishkin, to name a few. The rare archive's extensive range and scope covers images from the Old Testament to NASA's Apollo program.
Another 640,000 images are already digitized, saving future owners the expense when establishing an online stock photo company, said Michael Simon at Artifact Brokerage Firm.
The 4.5-million-piece collection is divided into nine categories, each with its own price tag: $6.5 million for the 640,000 digitized images, $7.9 million for 444,000 historical photos, $9.4 million for 1.7 million historical illustrations, a range of $404,000 to $1.9 million for the five newspaper photo collections, and $1.1 million for 114,240 celebrity photographs by photographer Peter Borsari.
For more information or appointments, visit www.culverarchives.com