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Magic Lantern Glass Slides

Magic lantern glass slides were invented in the 17th century as an image projector using photos on sheets of glass. Developed by Moses Holden in 1814, he used it before the invention of photography to illustrate his astronomical lectures. Improvements in photographic reproduction methods and projection illuminants in the years to come increased the magic lantern's popularity.

The majority of lantern slides used black and white positive images. Before the invention of color photography, these images would sometimes be hand colored using transparent oil paints, aniline dyes, or watercolors, then baked in an oven to set the layers.

Magic lantern slides brought about a new way for people to view both commercial and amateur photography. Through the first third of the 20th century, these slides were a popular form of entertainment, which allowed people to show off their photographs to a sizable audience. As film became more popular in the mid-20th century, magic lantern's popularity declined. Though these slides are rarely if ever used today, they are popular at auction, especially when the slides depict important points in history.


Quick Facts

  • In the late 19th century, magic lantern shows were popular, combining projected images, live narration, and music for audiences
  • 29 glass magic lantern slides depicting the Czar of France sold at Christie's London for $4,040 in June of 2009
  • A collection of private glass magic lantern slides depicting the Titanic just prior to its embarkation sold at Christie's London for $4,483 in May of 2006

Recommended Items at Auction

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Glass Slides
Dec 10, 9:00 AM EST
Glass Slides
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$152 Bids
Vintage Slides - Macabre Dentist Teeth Pics (1 Box) and Vacation Travel Shots
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Vintage Slides - Macabre Dentist Teeth Pics (1 Box) and Vacation Travel Shots
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$92 Bids
c1925 Magic Lantern Slides Set: Bert Lytell "Nestle in Your Daddy's Arms"
Dec 03, 10:00 AM MST
c1925 Magic Lantern Slides Set: Bert Lytell "Nestle in Your Daddy's Arms"
by Regency Antique Books
Est: $30- $40
$201 Bid
17 Glas-Dias Kriegsschiffe und zivile Schiffahrt - 17 glass slides warships and merchant ships
Dec 03, 9:30 AM CET
17 Glas-Dias Kriegsschiffe und zivile Schiffahrt - 17 glass slides warships and merchant ships
by Berliner Auktionshaus GmbH & Co. KG
Est: €0- €0
€500 Bids
A collection of Boxed Scientific Slides(2)
Dec 10, 10:00 AM GMT
A collection of Boxed Scientific Slides(2)
by Potteries Auctions
Est: £15- £30
£150 Bids
Stereoscopic Glass Slides Showing Photos of Palestine
Dec 13, 6:00 PM IST
Stereoscopic Glass Slides Showing Photos of Palestine
by Levy Auction House
Est: $0- $0
$4000 Bids
Collection of 15 Glass Slides - Palestine
Dec 13, 6:00 PM IST
Collection of 15 Glass Slides - Palestine
by Levy Auction House
Est: $0- $0
$1500 Bids
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Rare REALIST 3D Camera Lighted Viewer, slide
Dec 06, 9:00 AM EST
Rare REALIST 3D Camera Lighted Viewer, slide
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$100 Bids
A Box of Glass Photographic Plates
Dec 06, 6:00 PM AWST
A Box of Glass Photographic Plates
by McKenzies Auctioneers
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD1600 Bids
A magic lantern slide Charlie Chaplin Shoulder Arms.
Dec 03, 10:00 AM GMT
A magic lantern slide Charlie Chaplin Shoulder Arms.
by Rowley Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers
Est: £50- £80
£500 Bids
Magic lantern slides, two boxed sets Pied Piper and comical dogs and cats,
Dec 03, 10:00 AM GMT
Magic lantern slides, two boxed sets Pied Piper and comical dogs and cats,
by Rowley Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers
Est: £50- £80
£500 Bids
A small collection of glass negatives and magic lantern slides.
Dec 03, 10:00 AM GMT
A small collection of glass negatives and magic lantern slides.
by Rowley Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers
Est: £20- £30
£200 Bids
BEATTIE: Collection of glass slides housed in an Australian cedar box
Dec 04, 10:00 AM AEDT
BEATTIE: Collection of glass slides housed in an Australian cedar box
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD300- AUD500
AUD2600 Bids
Ernst Plank magic lantern in original box, etc.
Dec 02, 9:00 AM EST
Ernst Plank magic lantern in original box, etc.
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $160- $220
$800 Bids
A Wood Framed Glass Slide
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Wood Framed Glass Slide
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
A Wood Framed Glass Slide
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Wood Framed Glass Slide
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
A Black and White Antique Photograph Slide on Glass
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Black and White Antique Photograph Slide on Glass
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $30- $300
$300 Bids
Vintage View Finders and Slides
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Vintage View Finders and Slides
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $80- $800
$800 Bids
Borden Milk horse drawn wagon glass slide
Dec 13, 11:30 PM EST
Borden Milk horse drawn wagon glass slide
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $275- $325
$2000 Bids
Antique fire department glass magic lantern slide
Dec 13, 11:30 PM EST
Antique fire department glass magic lantern slide
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $125- $150
$1000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Magic Lantern Glass Slides


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Rowley Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers

Rowley Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd