"I've rescued and sold probably well over a hundred thousand photos over the past 15 plus years. On one occasion I purchased the entire contents of an old photography studio at a Sheriff's bankruptcy sale. The owner lost the shop and it was locked and sold at auction. I tell this story because as I was removing box after box of negatives and photographs, many dating back to the 1920s, I was approached by a sobbing twenties something girl looking for her wedding day photos. I helped her look to no avail. The now bankrupt photographer probably took her money and never developed her wedding photos. I've often wondered over the years if selling these photos and albums was a small way of keeping them from being lost or destroyed forever...I wondered if they ever found their way back home to family members??
"Fast forward...I sold this photo album last week to an artist for his upcoming artistic project:
A quick sale, the end of the story. Until I received this convo (I edited out names and identifying info): "Hi, do you still have this photo album? If not, could you tell me who you sold it to? I am also interested in how you came upon it. They are a scrapbook of pictures of me as a child that my mother made for me. I can't imagine how it came out of her possession. I grew up in **, Ohio. My mom passed away in April 2003. At that time my brother took his book and I got mine. I did get divorced in 2005. Prior to my divorce, my exwife took a lot of my personal affects and stored them in a storage facility and I never got them back. I am just guessing that she probably let her storage unit go into arrears and the items being stored were auctioned off, including this scrapbook. I can't imagine that this book would have any value to anyone but me or my kids, but to us it would be very sentimental. Any help you could give me to getting this back to me and my family would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Ed.
"I couldn't believe it.... His daughter just stumbled across my Etsy listing on the internet because I listed his name in my description (yea!). Of course the one time a family member contacts me the photo album was already sold and shipped.... I did put Ed and the buyer in touch and I hope they can work something out. I hope this story has a happy ending."
Well, I think it did have a happy ending, as I asked Kevin whether he'd heard back from Ed or the buyer and he said "The buyer hadn't dismantled the album yet so I gave him the family contact info. I left it up to the buyer to decide. In my last conversation with him he said he had contacted the family and was going to mail the album back to them."