Photography and Media Archive Acquisition Opportunity

As featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune, Hilco Streambank is marketing for sale the photography and media archive (the “Archive”) of Johnson Publishing Company, LLC (“Johnson Publishing”).

The photographs and related materials found in the Archive are the singular collection chronicling the African American experience in the latter half of the 20th century. They represent more than 4 million images and thousands of hours of video and music footage, dating back to 1948. The Archive was appraised at $46 million in 2015.

Prince Bailey Drifters

The deadline to register to place a bid is
July 23, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time.

Extended - The auction has been extended to  
July 24, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. Central Time.

Iconic Images of Enduring Value

prince_10006 Lee_Spike_10004 art_jordan-michael04 abbey-lincoln_15 Angelou_Mya_18 Ali-Muhammad17 art_Payton-Walter11 payton_walter_10006 percy-sutton_07 larry-doby_07 sharpton_al_10011 art_wilkins_roy10-(1) COLE_NAT_10027 prince_10015 freedom-riders-insta gerry-ford-billie-jean-king__art_ashe-arthur09 gloria-lynne_02-(1) art_ali-muhammad41-watermarked-insta king_coretta_10012_rosa-parks goldberg_whoopi_10003_travolta peaches_herb_10002 The-Platters_03.tif- whitney-houston_01_bobby_brown bailey_pearl_10005_cabcalloway abbey-lincoln_17045 bailey_pearl_10042 art_williams-vanessa04-jesse-jackson-(1) james_rick_10 isaac-hayes_02_dionne-warwick_in_1976 ashe_arthur_10061

The Archive chronicles the African American people and culture at a pivotal time in American history, from the post-war, pre-civil rights era through the end of the 20th century.

The collection includes photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Nat “King” Cole, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Prince and Stevie Wonder.

Top subject matters covered by the collection include church, television, sports, food and fashion. Many of the photographs that comprise the Archive graced the pages of Ebony and Jet, publications which at one time were also owned by Johnson Publishing.

The sale represents a unique opportunity to purchase an unmatched, comprehensive collection of historically significant photographs of enduring value. Buyers have the chance to preserve the most important collection of African American photography ever to come to market.

An Archive of More Than...

contact sheets3.35 million negatives and slides

contact sheets983,000 photographs

contact sheets9,000 audio/visual items

contact sheets166,000 contact sheets


appraisal icon

The Archive was valued at more than $46 million in a 2015 appraisal.

Abbey Lincoln-Sammy Davis Jr Photo

instagram logo

Visit the Instagram account for additional photos posted daily


instagram mockup

Sale Process

The sale is being conducted by Miriam R. Stein, the Chapter 7 Trustee of the bankruptcy estate of Johnson Publishing, and is subject to Bankruptcy Court approval. The deadline to place a bid is July 23, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. The auction has been extended to July 24, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. Central Time. Parties interested in exploring a donation of any portion of the acquired assets should consult with tax counsel prior to submitting a bid. Contact Hilco Streambank to learn more about the sale process and to obtain access to the virtual data room.

Hilco Global will only use data you have agreed to share with us. You have the ability to view, change and delete data at any time upon request. Please view our privacy policy.