Condition Assessment

Each original Ansel Adams photograph, as it comes into our inventory, is assessed for condition as a part of establishing the price. The result of this assessment is to classify the print’s condition as “pristine”, “studio quality”, “excellent,” “very good,” “good,” “fair,” or “poor.”

If this seems heavily weighted to the positive side, there is a reason – once you get below “good”, the finer differences don’t matter. To us, “poor” means the value is zero (in that it would be impossible for us to sell it, although someone would probably buy it for a price), and “fair” means the value is close to zero (in that it would be impossible to put a price on it that could be justified to either the buyer or seller, but probably could be sold).

Classifying a print’s condition is not straight forward, the degrees of severity are often a matter of personal opinion, and subject to biases. We try to be as objective as possible, which means we are probably more severe than most. These are our condition criteria:

  • Pristine Absolutely no damage to the print surface
  • Studio Quality Only minor flaws or imperfections that would have occurred in the Artist’s studio and print was deemed acceptable to offer by the Artist
  • Excellent Minor flaws or damage to print surface, visible ONLY under close inspection in specular or raking light
  • Very Good Minor flaws or damage to print surface, visible upon inspection under standard gallery lighting conditions
  • Good Flaws or damage that draws the eye under normal viewing conditions once known or seen
  • Fair Flaws or damage immediately apparent under normal viewing conditions
  • Poor Shipping with broken glass, folded, oil rags…

For more detailed information see Print Condition Definitions