How to identify originals vs. restrikes?

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BrianM

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How to identify originals vs. restrikes?

PostTue Feb 02, 2016 8:20 pm

I recently purchased a group of stills from Things to Come, Dracula, and The Phantom of the Opera from a sller who had himself gotten them from an estate sale. I'd like to know whether they're original or restrikes since I know that it'd affect the value of the lot. The look original to me, but I'm unsure how to tell aside from the usual aging. Does anyone here know how to tell the difference?
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missdupont

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Re: How to identify originals vs. restrikes?

PostWed Feb 03, 2016 12:20 am

Paper is a big thing. Older paper is usually of better quality, and more likely to be double weight. It is more natural fiber based, while newer paper is usually more of a plastic feel. Printing is often different, on older prints, the image seems to really be in the paper, while on newer prints the emulsion is often just sitting on top of the paper. Look carefully, sometimes you can make out that the image is flipped, meaning it's usually a reprint. Many of the reprints lack still codes, but of course originals don't always have those themselves. Sepia prints are likely to be older, as time went on, newer prints seemed to focus on printing just in black and white.
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silentfilm

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Re: How to identify originals vs. restrikes?

PostWed Feb 03, 2016 12:52 pm

If the still code has been cropped out of the bottom corner of the photo, it is likely a re-strike.

If the photo is from a re-release from the 1930s or 1940s, the image will probably have been printed from the original negative, and be just as sharp. A lot of titles were licensed for TV in the 1960s and later, and the quality of these photos is not nearly as good as the originals.

I love stills that have original studio stamps on the back, or have the original press snipe attached, as they are certainly originals.
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Bob Birchard

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Re: How to identify originals vs. restrikes?

PostThu Feb 04, 2016 4:00 pm

Single weight vs. Double weight is not much of a distintion. I have seen the same original images printed on both types of paper. Here are some clues:

There were no resin coated papers until the 1950s, and resin coated papers were not widely used before the 1980s.

The color of the paper is also a clue. Look at the still borders. If they are dead white, they're likely not originals. True white was not possible before the late 1950s.

Look for things like photographed-in creases, pin holes, etc. If these are apparent, they are not original.

See if there is a gallery or library collection of vintage photographs that you might look through to get a sense of "feel" for how vintage prints look.

Gereally speaking, this is a know-it-when-you-see-it sort of determination, but you need to develop that sense.

Another suggestion would be to purchase a few buy-it-now vintage stills on ebay--make certain from the description they're vintage. These can also give you a standard for comparison.
Last edited by Bob Birchard on Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Rob

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Re: How to identify originals vs. restrikes?

PostFri Feb 05, 2016 10:39 pm

Also look for RAZOR sharp code numbers in the corners. Vintage original 8x10s are contact prints made from 8x10 camera negatives. The code numbers were written in India ink in the corners of the negatives.

Copy or dupe prints often have unsharp code numbers, since they are printed from dupe negatives. If the lens on the copy camera wasn't of a flat field variety, precisely focused and stopped down, chances are the corners and not as sharp as the middle if the image. The same thing applies to prints made via an enlarger - if the lens isn't completely sharp across the entirely of the image, the corners are usually a bit soft looking.

Rob McKay
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Bob Birchard

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Re: How to identify originals vs. restrikes?

PostSat Feb 06, 2016 10:22 pm

As a long time collector, I have to say the term "restrike" is being misused in the context of this discussion. A "restrike" is a modern print struck from an original negative. What is being discussed are properly called copies, copy prints, or dupe stills, struck from a copy negative that was generated by photographing an original print.

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