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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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An Argus Pre-Viewer for Coloured Slides
Oct 31, 11:00 AM AEDT
An Argus Pre-Viewer for Coloured Slides
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD557 Bids
AN INTERESTING COLLECTION OF 3IN. NAVAL MAGIC LANTERN SLIDES, CIRCA 1890 AND LATER
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
AN INTERESTING COLLECTION OF 3IN. NAVAL MAGIC LANTERN SLIDES, CIRCA 1890 AND LATER
by Charles Miller Ltd
Est: £150- £250
£750 Bids
Old Old Metal Slide Out Lunchbox with Thermos Holder
Nov 08, 6:00 PM EST
Old Old Metal Slide Out Lunchbox with Thermos Holder
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
A MICROPHOTO SLIDE BY J.B. DANCER, CIRCA 1850
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
A MICROPHOTO SLIDE BY J.B. DANCER, CIRCA 1850
by Charles Miller Ltd
Est: £60- £80
£300 Bids
Vintage Sterling Lanyard CZ Bracelet/Anklet Slide Closure
Nov 05, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage Sterling Lanyard CZ Bracelet/Anklet Slide Closure
by Maria's Vintage & Estate Treasures
Est: $45- $60
$310 Bids
MICROSCOPE SLIDES FROM THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF FRED ENOCK (1845-1916)
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
MICROSCOPE SLIDES FROM THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF FRED ENOCK (1845-1916)
by Charles Miller Ltd
Est: £10,000- £15,000
£8,0000 Bids
Clarks Special Syracuse NY Silver Cornet, in case w/ additional slides c1910
Nov 07, 10:00 AM PDT
Clarks Special Syracuse NY Silver Cornet, in case w/ additional slides c1910
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $300- $350
$2500 Bids
P&O PENCILLINGS: 12 LANTERN SLIDES
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
P&O PENCILLINGS: 12 LANTERN SLIDES
by Charles Miller Ltd
Est: £250- £350
£1200 Bids
Collection of Ledoux's Photos From Asia
Nov 16, 12:00 PM EST
Collection of Ledoux's Photos From Asia
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Collection of Ledoux's Photos From Puerto Rico
Nov 16, 12:00 PM EST
Collection of Ledoux's Photos From Puerto Rico
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
BECK MICROSCOPE Model No.29, in original case with instruction booklet and slides, early 20th century, 31cm high
Nov 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
BECK MICROSCOPE Model No.29, in original case with instruction booklet and slides, early 20th century, 31cm high
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD150- AUD250
AUD1200 Bids
Wellington SCP Lantern Plate - 9 plates people
Nov 21, 11:00 AM EST
Wellington SCP Lantern Plate - 9 plates people
by Moggies Auction Service
Est: $30- $50
$200 Bids
The Exhibition slide projector Lantern
Nov 13, 9:30 AM EST
The Exhibition slide projector Lantern
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
Vintage Sterling Lanyard CZ Bracelet/Anklet Slide Closure
Nov 20, 4:00 PM EST
Vintage Sterling Lanyard CZ Bracelet/Anklet Slide Closure
by Maria's Vintage & Estate Treasures
Est: $45- $60
$310 Bids
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THACHER CYLINDRICAL SLIDE RULE MODEL 4012 No 3117, New York: Keuffel & Esser, c.1910,
Nov 03, 10:00 AM PDT
THACHER CYLINDRICAL SLIDE RULE MODEL 4012 No 3117, New York: Keuffel & Esser, c.1910,
by Bonhams
Est: $800- $1,200
$8000 Bids
Three black and white lantern slides depicting fly fishing scenes, Radio-Mat.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
Three black and white lantern slides depicting fly fishing scenes, Radio-Mat.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $15- $25
$100 Bids
A Vintage Glass Slide Negative
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
A Vintage Glass Slide Negative
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
Silver mechanical singing bird box. When the slid bar is slid the lid raises an
Nov 09, 5:30 PM EST
Silver mechanical singing bird box. When the slid bar is slid the lid raises an
by Antique Place
Est: $3,000- $4,500
$1000 Bids
38 Lantern Slides on Wool Industry in Wood Case
Nov 05, 9:00 AM EDT
38 Lantern Slides on Wool Industry in Wood Case
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
42 Lantern Slides on Wool Industry in Wood Case
Nov 05, 9:00 AM EDT
42 Lantern Slides on Wool Industry in Wood Case
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
55 Lantern Slides on Hiawatha in Wood Case
Nov 05, 9:00 AM EDT
55 Lantern Slides on Hiawatha in Wood Case
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $150- $300
$500 Bids
CUSTOM-MADE 22K YELLOW GOLD AND WATERMELON TOURMALINE SLIDE PENDANT/NECKLACE ENHANCER.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
CUSTOM-MADE 22K YELLOW GOLD AND WATERMELON TOURMALINE SLIDE PENDANT/NECKLACE ENHANCER.
by Sloans & Kenyon
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$7500 Bids
Antique 19th C 10 KT Gold Necklace Slide
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique 19th C 10 KT Gold Necklace Slide
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $100- $150
$300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Magic Lantern Glass Slides


Keystone Auctions LLC

Keystone Auctions LLC

Charles Miller Ltd

Charles Miller Ltd

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida