Hearing his words, Hans ran over immediately. His speed scared Ah Meow and it stared at Big Fox with its big eyes.
He grabbed the album and examined it with excitement. "Yes, this is a good item. The photos are oldI guess they have been around at least 100 years!"
Li Du said, "Maybe we should find an expert to seek some advice. We can ask him about the times of these old photos. I hope theyre worth some money."
Not every old thing was certainly valuable. There were a lot of old photos in the United States, especially in some shops which had been opened for more than hundred years, and in big families. They often kept a lot of old photos.
In addition, there were many old photography studios in the United States. Hans found a photography studio in Flagstaff. He brought Li Du along.
This photography studio was very historical. There was a variegated signboard on the door. Also, the outside walls were painted with some abstract paintings. Li Du stared at them for awhile but he still could not figure them out.
Hans noticed and said, "Stop looking at it. Originally, they painted a man who was taking a picture. But after some time, the paint faded. So the owner just repainted over it randomly, and it became an abstract painting. "
Li Du felt strange and asked, "Why did they randomly paint with some colors? Why dont they redraw it again? Or paint a different pattern?"
Hans shook his head. "Maybe this is how the boss expressed his dissatisfaction towards the changes of the world."
When he knocked on the door, an old voice spoke after a moment: "Come in."
Li Du followed behind Hans. Entering the photography studio, he saw that there were many photos on the walls. The most conspicuous photo was the one of Marilyn Monroes iconic flying skirt.
There was a counter inside the house and there were several cameras on the counter. There was an old model of a wooden camera; Li Du would believe it if someone said that the wooden camera was 100 years old.
There was a desk inside the counter. A white-haired elderly man was sitting in front of the table and drinking a cup of coffee. His clothes were clean and tidy. He looked relaxed, unlike many elders who had been abandoned by society.
"Little boy, you look familiar," the old man stared at Hans and said.
Hans smiled and said, "I am the son of Firaki Fox. I think he took his wedding photos here. He used to come here for taking pictures."
The old man suddenly nodded. "Firaki! You are the son of Firaki! How youve grown! My God, how time flies! So how is your father recently? "
Hans said wryly, "He has died and is now in heaven with God and Jesus."
The old man made the sign of the cross on his chest. "May his soul be comforted. So why are you coming in today?"
Hans said, "I wanted to have a photo with my buddy."
The elder laughed. "Did you come here to take a photo? You must think thoroughly. There is no Polaroid or digital photography hereI have to develop the film for you. Therefore, the price is higher."
Hans said, "Dont worry about the price."
The old man felt satisfied and smiled, "You made the right decision. Films are better than digital photos because they have better color reproduction and granularity. They are really amazing."
Although the photography studio was located in the old building, the high-ceilinged studio was spacious. It was not crowded at alleven after Godzilla came in.
The three of them stood in front of a backdrop. Godzilla was sitting in the center while Li Du and Hans put their arms around his shoulders. They smiled together so they could take a good picture.
After they finished shooting, the old man was going to write them a receipt for collecting the photo later. At the same time, Hans handed him the album and said, "Boss, can you have a look at the photos inside this album? We wish to know their approximate ages."
After he finished writing neatly on the receipt, he opened the album and looked carefully.
He spent more than half an hour viewing the photos.
Hans stood very patiently while Li Du walked around to have a look at the old photos hanging on the walls. Some photos had 100 years of history; seeing how Flagstaff looked like 100 years ago was very interesting.
After he finished studying the photos, the elderly man patted the album and said, "There are two kinds of photos in the album. First, the desert landscape photos, which are more than 50 years old. The Egyptian architectural photographs have been around for more than 150 years."
Hans, curious, asked, "These pictures are not from the same time period?"
The old man laughed, "Of course not. Although the materials of the photos are similar, I can still identify their differences. The first part of the process of capturing the photos is using the dry plate. The silver halide crystals in gelatin are coated on the film base. When the silver halide crystals are exposed to light, the silver halide crystals are converted to metallic silver, which blocks light and appears as the black part of the film negative.
"The second part was apparently using the negative, which was produced through a wet collodion process. It was no longer in use after 1881, just like those old cameras. They were eliminated."
With this, the elderly man patted the counter. There were some old-fashioned cameras under the glass.
"It has been 120 years from 1881 until now, right?" Hans asked.
The old man said, "Yes, I judge them based on their characteristics, color, and resolution. They probably used the daguerreotype process. Also, I think they used the old-fashioned wooden camera."
He caressed the photos gently. He said, "This process and cameras were eliminated in the mid-nineteenth-century. Thats why I think the pictures have been around for more than 150 years."
Hans asked, "So are these photos valuable?"
The old man said, "It is difficult to tell. If you are able to find someone who likes to collect old photos, they should be willing to spend some money to buy them. But those landscape photos are of little value, regardless of the content or the material itself."
Hans immediately began to persuade him. "So are you willing to be the owner?"
The elderly man waved his hand and said, "I cant even get someone to be the owner of my own photos and cameras. I have no place for them."
This business had no hope in sight. However, Hans was not discouraged. He shook hands with the elder before he left. After he went back home, he got rid of the landscape photos and kept the architectural photos. He thought that the older things were more valuable.
The number of architectural photos was high; there were 40 pieces in total.
He grabbed a few photos of the Sphinx and the Pyramids. Then, he took some pictures with his cellphone and uploaded them to the internet to see whether there was anyone interested.
Li Du said, "I am afraid that we cant make big money this time."
Hans optimistically patted on the pile of books and said, "Maybe not as much as we expected, but we will certainly earn some money from it. If you dont believe me, I will show you the trick."
He taught Li Du and Godzilla how to classify the books according to the author's name and genre. The books were divided into several packages. They tried to arrange different books of the same author or different types of books in each package.
This was a big project. The three of them had been busy for the whole day.
Hannah also helped them after she got off work. Hans asked Steven to help them with the project as well.
The five of them worked until midnight. Nearly 4,000 books were divided into more than 100 packages. Some contained more than 100 books whereas some only contained a dozen or so.
The next day, Hans got himself a phone book and he started calling the universities. "Hello, could I speak to the person in charge of the library of Arizona State University?"
"Well, I got a new batch of books to be sold. They are all hardcover edition. For example, the complete collection of Mark Twain and Sidney Sheldon...
"Yes, they are all originals, and the condition is new. Also, they are inexpensive and the sources are definitely reliable!"