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While many have grown up with photo albums in their family households, displaying pictures of them as a child or of relatives, the precise history of the photo album is difficult to trace. Its popularity grew from that of scrap books, which consisted mainly of objects that one might deem important or worth remembering before photography was invented.
Rise in interest in the photo album illustrates photography's shifting role from a commercial commodity to a personal one. Its growing popularity throughout the 19th century can be linked with the popularity of portraits as well as the fact that photography was increasingly being made available to amateurs. The photo album presents the perfect way for the amateur photographer to create and present their photos to others, and today, vintage photo albums are a popular collection item.
When albumen prints were replaced with POP prints in the 1880s, photographs no longer needed to be mounted onto a firm secondary support and hollowed card albums were replaced with simple pages
A leather-bound photo album with photographs of James Brown and his band during the mid-'60s sold at Christie's New York in July of 2008 for $8,125
A photo album made up of 54 black and white snapshots of U.S. Secretary of State for Defense Robert McNamara visiting the armed forces in Vietnam in 1962 sold at Sotheby's New York in October of 2012 for $3,750