John Rogers has always been a collector, but the Arkansas businessman found it bittersweet when he'd finish a complete set of vintage cards.
The part he liked best...the search for missing pieces...was over.
Now, he's turned one part of his hobby into a thriving business where the thrill of the hunt never ends.
Rogers is the man behind the John Rogers Photo Archive. In the last 15 months, he's purchased huge photo inventories of long-running publications like SPORT magazine, The Sporting News and big city daily newspapers in Chicago, Detroit and Denver. Rogers' company gets the original photos--many of them a century old--and the original negatives. In return, dozens of Rogers' employees work feverishly to digitize the photo library for the publications and return the computer files to the publication.
"It's a win-win," he says of the effort, which once completed, allows the publications to search for the photos they need for print and online purposes much easier. Rogers gets a phenomenal inventory of original glass-plate negatives from which he can create first run prints for collectors, fans and others willing to buy them. He also gets to keep the original photos. The price tag for each transaction is often in the millions. It's a cost he's well on the way to recouping.
According to Rogers, there was no shortage of buyers at the National Sports Collectors Convention. His inventory is ever-changing and unique and prices encompass all levels of collectors.
The archive now totals about 32 million images. Rogers says the goal is to have all of them digitized by June of next year.
In the meantime, the search to add more images to the Rogers Photo Archive continues.
"We'd like to buy every newspaper in the country," he told Beckett Media, which offers up more details in this video: