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Letters and numbers on the back of photographs

Letters and numbers on the back of photographs

Posted: 3 Jan 2010 10:15PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Bauer
Does anyone have information or know of a website that may provide some explanation for the letters and numbers stamped on the back of some photographs? I have used them to group photos presumably taken on the same roll of film but I'm wondering whether some commercial film developers had unique sets of numbers. Also was there an approximate period of time when scroll work around the outside of a photo was in vogue?

Gary

Re: Letters and numbers on the back of photographs

Posted: 5 Feb 2010 5:07AM GMT
Classification: Query
I've got the same basic question as I have older photos that have numbers on the back, some stamped, some written in pencil. I haven't found a way to determine if they are the same roll of film, or the same batch of paper.

As for your second question, I've seen the scroll work, if it's the 'fancy' edges, on my photos from around the later 1920s-1950s or so.

Re: Letters and numbers on the back of photographs

Posted: 5 Feb 2010 4:46PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you very much for the reply.
I have assumed that photos are from the same roll of film if the number stamped on the back of them is the same colour and font and in the same position on the back of the photo.
I find it interesting that you also have photographs with numbers written in pencil. Until now I have assumed that these handwritten numbers had been added by someone after the photo had been returned from the developer but perhaps that may not be correct.

Re: Letters and numbers on the back of photographs

Posted: 6 Feb 2010 1:23AM GMT
Classification: Query
Well I'm looking at a few right now. There is a number 911F, and a date of Jun 10 1940 and it also says,
Certified By The Photo Finishing Institute
10 Point Process
Hicks Photo Finishers

The last part is in an oval and is purple. The date has to be close as it's my grandmother and she's of the right age at that date.

That's about all I know about the photos. The ones with hand written numbers seem to be much older, but no one knows who is in the photos so the dates can not be matched. They could have been added after they came back, and they don't appear to have been added by the same hand, different numbers and such. Though the hand written ones are much lower, as in 10, 11, 12. I should go through them and sort them and see what I can come up with.

Re: Letters and numbers on the back of photographs

Posted: 8 Feb 2010 11:56PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hand written numbers on CDV's and Cabinet Cards are usually the file number for the negative. A lot of them have printed on the back "Duplicates made anytime" or "Negatives saved for 1 year".
If you see written onthe back of a cabinet card things such as "blue eyes", "fix tie", "hair brown with highlights", etc. then that particular picture was likely sent to a firm that made the large Pastels. They were oval or 12"x16" (sizes varied) pictures that were hand drawn and then colored from the Cabinet Card. The notes were to give the artists the colors as well as to fix any "flaws", the precursor to airbrushing.

Re: Letters and numbers on the back of photographs

Posted: 15 Mar 2010 5:28AM GMT
Classification: Query
Gary,
I have the same problem. Have a general idea when the pix were taken because I know the people in the pix and can take a guess. Most of the pix have fancy edging. Some don't have any. What I have done is put the pix with the same numbers together and go from there. This may help: I looked for photos with cars or trucks in them, get out a magnigying glass and zero in on the license plate and get an approximate year. Actually it is one big guessing game. I wish there was a way to identify the pix, even the years, by the number on the backs.
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