(Screenshot from Swanngallieries.com)

Copied from: Swanngallieries.com:

“Sale 2466 Lot 92
At Sammy’s in the Bowery. Ferrotyped silver print, the image measuring 13 1/2×10 1/2 inches (34.3×26.7 cm.), the sheet slightly larger, with the Brooklyn Academy of Music Benefit hand stamp, with the credit, title, date notations, and the edition notation 30/100, in pencil, on verso. 1944; printed 1993
From the Collection of Peter Morris.
Unsold”
or
“Price Realized: $618

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(Screenshot from Swanngallieries.com)

Lot 270, from the auction house website:
“A series of four photographs showing how the police break into a safe.
Silver prints, the images measuring 7 1/2×9 1/2 inches (5.4×7.6 to 24.1×19.1 cm.), and the reverse, each with Weegee’s Photo-Representative credit hand stamp and his 47th Street hand stamp, on verso. 1940s.”

(They can be seen here.)

The photos could have been made by Weegee, or any of hundreds of other photographers. The paper is single weight and a little smaller than 8 x 10,” the printing is neat, borders are even, suggesting that Weegee didn’t make the prints. Each photo has two “Weegee” stamps: a “Please Credit Weegee From Photo-Representatives” and “WEEGEE, 451 W. 47 Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, 212-265-1955.” They are stamped haphazardly, with dark black ink, and the 451 address is clearly legible. They have the same stamps as Lot 271. These “Weegee” stamps don’t match real or authentic stamps.

If these are the same stamps that were used on the backs of the photos in Lot 271, then Weegee probably did not make these photos. Of course it’s possible that Weegee made these photos in the 40s and someone had the stamps made and then used the stamps in the 80s or 90s or even in the 21st century…

Another photo in this series was at an auction in the summer of 2017:

An intriguing auction, consisting of two lots and 13 photos, with “Weegee” stamps, occurred on February 15, 2018, at Swann auction gallery.


(Screenshot from Swanngallieries.com on Feb. 10, 2016)

Lot 271, from the auction house website:
“WEEGEE [ARTHUR FELLIG] (1899-1968) (attributed to) [added after we made the above screenshot.]
A group of 9 crime-scene photographs from the early part of Weegee’s career, including gruesome depictions of murder victims.
Silver prints, the images measuring 2 1/8×3 to 4 1/2×6 1/4 inches (11.4×15.9 cm.), and some the reverse, the sheets slightly larger, each with Weegee’s Photo-Representatives hand stamp, sometimes twice, and his 47th Street hand stamp, on verso. Circa 1930. Estimate $4,000 – 6,000.”

(They can be seen here.)

When one looks at these photos it’s hard not to think something like, “Weegee did not make these photos.” Everything about them says “Weegee did not make these photos” – the images, content, size, paper, etc. But it’s a compelling narrative, they are small, most are sepia and silverish; maybe these are “from the early part of Weegee’s career.” And they all have “Weegee” stamps on their backs.

Let’s look closely at these stamps. Two stamps are used: “Please Credit Weegee from Photo-Representatives” and “WEEGEE, 451 W. 47 Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, 212-265-1955,” (the address in the later stamp is often not visible). Weegee used the Photo-Representatives stamp from approximately 1955-59 and the W. 47 Street was used from approximately 1964-68 (maybe?). For small photos they have plenty of stamps, four photos are stamped three times and five photos are stamped two times, all with black ink. They resemble “real” or “authentic” stamps, but don’t match exactly. In the “Please Credit Weegee from Photo-Representatives” stamp the “Please Credit Weegee” is slightly thicker or more bold on real or authentic stamps. “From” is a different typeface entirely, it’s slightly serif-ed in real and authentic stamps, and non-serif in Lot 271 stamps. And “Photo-Representatives” is more condensed in real and authentic stamps. When seen together they are obviously not the same stamp:


(Source of this image is probably from an online auction of similar photos with the same stamps in May 2017.)


(Verso of a photo from Lot 271.)


(Cropped JPEG of the verso of a Weegee photo, don’t remember which one.)


(Cropped JPEG of the verso of a Weegee photo, 19970.1993.)


(Verso of Weegee photo, 14787.1993. One stamp is centered and straight.)

The “Weegee” in the “WEEGEE, 451 W. 47 Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, 212-265-1955” stamp is less condensed on the backs of photos in Lots 270 and 271.


(Verso of a photo from Lot 271.)


(Verso of Weegee photo, 257.1996. One stamp is centered and straight.)


(Verso of Weegee photo, 14896.1993. One stamp is centered and straight.)

It’s easy and tempting to provide narratives of how “crime-scene photographs from the early part of Weegee’s career” wound up stamped with similar stamps to the stamps that Weegee used. And why they were stamped twenty and thirty years after the photos were allegedly made… Maybe Weegee’s assistant, Hypo the chimpanzee, had a Photo-Representatives stamp made late in the 1950s and then ten years later ordered a W. 47 Street stamp, and then used them both to stamp these nine photos that do not resemble in any way, known Weegee photos.

ICP has about 250 photos with a “WEEGEE, 451 W. 47 Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, 212-265-1955,” stamp. These photos are unambiguously Weegee photos. The prints were obviously made late in Weegee’s life, presumably from 1964-68, (possibly even posthumously). Almost all have one stamp, in black ink, and are stamped in the center of the paper, they are relatively straight. There are no photos with both “WEEGEE, 451 W. 47 Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, 212-265-1955” and “Please Credit Weegee from Photo-Representatives” stamps.

ICP has about 5,000 photos with a “Please Credit Weegee from Photo-Representatives” stamp. The same stamp is used, there are no variations of font and typeface. Black ink is common. Most of these stamps are more-or-less in the center of the paper and relatively straight. None are stamped eccentrically, like the photos in Lot 271.

Our opinion: these nine photos were made by three or four different photographers, none of whom were Weegee. The stamps are not the stamps Weegee used. They are not “Weegee’s hand stamps.” The stamps were made posthumously. The photos were stamped (the ink doesn’t look fifty and sixty years old) “recently,” posthumously, and not by Weegeee…

Speaking of human cops…
Here is Detective Adam Flint using a typically unconventional method to solve a crime… with, more importantly a pair of Weegee photos (“On the Roof” and… a bandaged Frank Birskowsky on the Bowery?) tacked to the bulletin board in the squad room of the 65th Precinct on the TV series “Naked City.”
(“The Fingers of Henri Tourelle,” October 18, 1961)


“60 Injured In Western Electric Blast,” November 30, 1943, “Extra! Weegee” pages 44-45.

There are many reason to love the book “Extra! Weegee” (Hirmer, 2017) this is one of them:
Making connections between photos. The two photos above and “…And the human cop” were all made at the same place, after the same explosion…


Weegee, “Naked City,” 1945, pp. 68-69
“…and the human cop.”

PM caption:
“Proving the Cops are Human
A look of grave concern crosses the face of this policeman as he watches an injured woman being removed from the Western Electric plant at 395 Hudson St. following explosion that killed two early yesterday.”

(To be continued…)


Screenshots from Naked City, “The Night the Saints Lost Their Halos”, Season Three, 1962.

A pair of Weegee photos, “On The Roof,” August 1941 (and perhaps the Tresca murder, January, 1943), sandwiched between Paul Burke and Horace McMahon, have a starring role in several episodes of the Naked City T.V. series. They’re on the bulletin board in Lieutenant Parker’s office… (They also appear in the squad room, displayed in almost the exact same way…)


(“Weegee,” Howard Greenberg Gallery, March 21, 2017)

Excellent exhibition: “Weegee” at the Howard Greenberg Gallery, February 16 – April 1, 2017.

Bunch of classic images, some lesser-known images, and a few images we were not familiar with… One photo was made in Jersey City. A pair of photos of a woman and her periscope were made in Hollywood, ca. 1950… Almost entirely the prints were on the larger side, 11×14″-ish paper. (Prices were approx. $3,500-$12,000. Perhaps, the smaller the photo, the smaller the price. If an 11×14″ photo sold for $10,000, then that would be about $65/square inch. Or, a little less than $10,000/square foot.) Some prints were annotated, there was at least one Culver stamp, and several Acme Newspictures stamps…