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Stereoviews

Stereoviews, also known as stereographs, were novelty images that became popular in 1860 through the early 1920s. Consisting of two images side by side, either on glass or pasted onto a sturdy card, stereoviews were meant to be observed through a special viewer, called a stereoscope, that created the effect of a three dimensional image.

The stereoscope was invented in 1833, predating the photograph. Inexpensive stereoviews images were first drawings, and sometimes reproduced by lithography. After the development of photography, daguerreotypes, tintypes, and ambrotypes were all used in stereoscopes. As improvements in paper and cameras developed throughout the 19th century, higher quality images were those printed from the negative on silver gelatin paper.

Stereographs were typically not meant as a high art form, or as a serious documentary vehicle, but were mostly for the purpose of entertainment. Stereoscopes and a collection of images would be passed around at social gatherings. Popular images of famous people and places were produced as tourist keepsakes, though some well-respected photographers had their images printed as stereographs. Stereoviews are often seen as an advancement towards the development of the motion picture.


Quick Facts

  • One of the most popular categories of images used in stereoscopes was railroad imagery, as this type of transportation developed extensively in the 19th century, especially with the development of the transcontinental railroad from Sacramento to Utah
  • Carleton Watkins was one of the most prolific producers of images of the American West. His images were published widely as stereoviews, and their popularity introduced the population of the Eastern states to the vast wonders of Yosemite valley
  • The most prolific producer of stereoviews in the United States was the Keystone View Company in Pennsylvania, and in the United Kingdom, the London Stereoscope Company

Recommended Items at Auction

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Stereo Optic Viewer And Cards
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Stereo Optic Viewer And Cards
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$2010 Bids
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Keystone Asian Stereo Views (30) [129713]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Keystone Asian Stereo Views (30) [129713]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $80- $120
$552 Bids
Antique Stereoscope & cards
Nov 02, 7:00 PM AEDT
Antique Stereoscope & cards
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
LARGE GROUPING OF STEREOVIEW CARDS
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MDT
LARGE GROUPING OF STEREOVIEW CARDS
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $100- $150
$101 Bid
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Malakoff Diggings Stereoview [139886]
Oct 31, 8:00 AM PDT
Malakoff Diggings Stereoview [139886]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
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Chicago Fire Stereo Views (20) [129718]
Oct 28, 8:00 AM PDT
Chicago Fire Stereo Views (20) [129718]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $300- $600
$1501 Bid
Antique Very Rare Stereoview French Les Cuisines de Satan
Oct 28, 5:00 PM EDT
Antique Very Rare Stereoview French Les Cuisines de Satan
by Artelisted
Est: $50- $100
$180 Bids
Stereo picture viewer and extensi
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Stereo picture viewer and extensi
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1,5000 Bids
[STEREOVIEWS]. PAIR OF STEREOVIEWERS WITH A LARGE GROUP OF ...
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
[STEREOVIEWS]. PAIR OF STEREOVIEWERS WITH A LARGE GROUP OF ...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
LOT OF OVER 100 STEREOVIEWS OF COLORADO AND OTHER LOCATIONS...
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
LOT OF OVER 100 STEREOVIEWS OF COLORADO AND OTHER LOCATIONS...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Le Glyphoscope and Stereo Viewer, c. 1906
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Le Glyphoscope and Stereo Viewer, c. 1906
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €200- €300
€1200 Bids
Ernemann Heag XV Stereo and Weizsäcker Stereo Viewer
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Ernemann Heag XV Stereo and Weizsäcker Stereo Viewer
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €300- €500
€1800 Bids
Curved Stereoscope 8,5 x 17 cm, c. 1870
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Curved Stereoscope 8,5 x 17 cm, c. 1870
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €250- €350
€1600 Bids
VINTAGE 1326 STREET ON OCEAN FRONT, JUNEAU CITY, ALASKA STEREO VIEW CARD
Nov 01, 12:30 PM EDT
VINTAGE 1326 STREET ON OCEAN FRONT, JUNEAU CITY, ALASKA STEREO VIEW CARD
by Museum of Culture and Arts, Inc
Est: $70- $270
$90 Bids
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Early Stereo View Cards of San Francisco [137891]
Oct 28, 8:00 AM PDT
Early Stereo View Cards of San Francisco [137891]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
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Stereo Views of Winchester, Mass (9) [129719]
Oct 28, 8:00 AM PDT
Stereo Views of Winchester, Mass (9) [129719]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $150- $200
$750 Bids
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Stereo View Card Collection Mexico, Central and South America [139776]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Stereo View Card Collection Mexico, Central and South America [139776]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $180- $250
$900 Bids
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Stereo View Card Collection Canada [139763]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Stereo View Card Collection Canada [139763]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
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Champion Spouting Springs Stereo View [139309]
Oct 28, 8:00 AM PDT
Champion Spouting Springs Stereo View [139309]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $80- $120
$400 Bids
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Backbone of the Black Hills Stereo View [139310]
Oct 28, 8:00 AM PDT
Backbone of the Black Hills Stereo View [139310]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $60- $80
$300 Bids
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Stereo View Card Collection Including President Taft [137894]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Stereo View Card Collection Including President Taft [137894]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $60- $100
$300 Bids
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Stereo View Card Collection Midwest to Eastern United States [139774]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Stereo View Card Collection Midwest to Eastern United States [139774]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
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Keystone Specialty Stereo Views (20) [129714]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Keystone Specialty Stereo Views (20) [129714]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $60- $100
$300 Bids
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Stereo View Card Collection Europe [139764]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Stereo View Card Collection Europe [139764]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $500- $700
$2500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Stereoviews


Holabird Western Americana

Holabird Western Americana

Auction Team Breker

Auction Team Breker

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

Davis Brothers Auction

Davis Brothers Auction