State historical society working to preserve rare photo collection
COMMERCE CITY – The Colorado Historical Society is trying to make sure a rare photo collection of Aspen, Leadville, Central City and other towns remains in the state.”It’s unbelievably awesome,” said Carol Hunter of Grandby, who is working with the historical society.The late Harold Sanborn took the photos, which also include landscapes, from the early 1920s into the 1950s, and the collection is priced at $500,000.The Denver-based postcard photographer’s work sold for a few pennies in drug stores and other retail outlets, the Aspen Daily News reported.Because his cards were real photos rather than a halftone of tiny dots like other postcards, they compare favorably to the work of Ansel Adams and William Henry Jackson, said Hunter. They can be scanned and enlarged without losing their clarity.Derick Wangaard owns the collection. The cards came along with the rest of Sanborn Souvenirs when he bought the company 10 years ago.”I had no idea this collection existed,” Wangaard said. A 12,000-square-foot warehouse came with the assets Wangaard bought from Bill Sanborn’s wife, Betty. “The collection was sitting off in a corner in five file cabinets,” he said.The cabinets contain 40,000 postcards, hundreds of negatives and transparencies, cameras, business ledgers and detailed notes on each image. Observing them is like taking a walk through history.Hunter was doing research work for the nonprofit group Partners for Access to the Woods when she found out about the postcards and Wangaard let her look at them. “I remember seeing some Rocky Mountain National Park postcards and saying ‘Man,”‘ Hunter said.”This collection is an invaluable resource tool,” Hunter said. “This is a real Colorado treasure.”Wangaard said he is selling the collection partly because it is deteriorating and needs to go somewhere where it can be maintained, such as the historical society.
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