More Vintage Sports Photos About to Hit Market

Collector John Rogers has bought another major newspaper’s entire photo archive.


Arkansas businessman John Rogers made some headlines last year when he bought a T206 Honus Wagner for $1.62 million. His biggest deals, however, have nothing to do with baseball cards.

Rogers also buys and sells photographs and his latest acquisition is the entire photo archive of the Chicago Sun-Times/Daily News. Rogers purchased thousands of photos in the deal, which he has already begun selling via this eBay link. It’s the rare pre-1960s photos he’s really after.

He completed a similar deal with a Detroit newspaper last year and has also purchased the collections of well-known photographers like Arthur Rickerby and Barney Stein.

In a Rogers deal, however, the newspapers don’t lose their ability to utilize their massive archive. Rogers’ team scans the photos and creates digital copies, complete with identification, and gives them back to the seller. In this case, the Sun-Times will await an 18-month process in which the photo scanning is complete, then have complete access and reproduction rights. Rogers is left with the hard copies that he liquidates primarily through online and card show sales.

“The papers always wonder what’s the catch: ‘You’re going to give us lots of money and you’re going to digitize it for free, which costs millions of dollars?’ What do you get?’ We get the photos. They don’t get why someone would care about old photos.”

It’s apparently a win-win for the newspapers–and for Rogers, who explained the whole concept to the Sun-Times’ arch-rivals at the Chicago Tribune.