Colorizing Old Photos Requires a Ton of Research

Jared Enos, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Jared Enos, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Looking at a colorized photo of a long-dead historical figure can feel like stepping through a time portal. You’ve likely seen the famous portrait of Albert Einstein clasping his hands, for example, but the image is given new life when you can make out the tone of his skin and the shade of his sweater.

Colorization is a time-consuming process, and the work begins long before artists pick up their graphics tablets. As Vox reports, each hue is obsessively researched using diaries, government records, and the expertise of historians. So when you look at a professionally colorized photo, you aren’t merely looking at an artist’s interpretation of the past—you’re getting an image that’s as close as possible to the real thing.

Get an in-depth look at the craft in the video below.

Amazon’s Big Fall Sale Features Deals on Electronics, Kitchen Appliances, and Home Décor

Dash/Keurig
Dash/Keurig

If you're looking for deals on items like Keurigs, BISSELL vacuums, and essential oil diffusers, it's usually pretty slim pickings until the holiday sales roll around. Thankfully, Amazon is starting these deals a little earlier with their Big Fall Sale, where customers can get up to 20 percent off everything from home decor to WFH essentials and kitchen gadgets. Now you won’t have to wait until Black Friday for the deal you need. Make sure to see all the deals that the sale has to offer here and check out our favorites below.

Electronics

Dash/Amazon

- BISSELL Lightweight Upright Vacuum Cleaner $170 (save $60)

- Dash Deluxe Air Fryer $80 (save $20)

- Dash Rapid 6-Egg Cooker $17 (save $3)

- Keurig K-Café Single Coffee Maker $169 (save $30)

- COMFEE Toaster Oven $29 (save $9)

- AmazonBasics 1500W Oscillating Ceramic Heater $31 (save $4)

Home office Essentials

HP/Amazon

- HP Neverstop Laser Printer $250 (save $30)

- HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner $274 (save $25)

- HP Printer Paper (500 Sheets) $5 (save $2)

- Mead Composition Books Pack of 5 Ruled Notebooks $11 (save $2)

- Swingline Desktop Hole Punch $7 (save $17)

- Officemate OIC Achieva Side Load Letter Tray $15 (save $7)

- PILOT G2 Premium Rolling Ball Gel Pens 12-Pack $10 (save $3)

Toys and games

Selieve/Amazon

- Selieve Toys Old Children's Walkie Talkies $17 (save $7)

- Yard Games Giant Tumbling Timbers $59 (save $21)

- Duckura Jump Rocket Launchers $11 (save $17)

- EXERCISE N PLAY Automatic Launcher Baseball Bat $14 (save $29)

- Holy Stone HS165 GPS Drones with 2K HD Camera $95 (save $40)

Home Improvement

DEWALT/Amazon

- DEWALT 20V MAX LED Hand Held Work Light $54 (save $65)

- Duck EZ Packing Tape with Dispenser, 6 Rolls $11 (save $6)

- Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage Auto Vacuum $111 (save $39)

- Full Circle Sinksational Sink Strainer with Stopper $5 (save $2)

Home Décor

NECA/Amazon

- A Christmas Story 20-Inch Leg Lamp Prop Replica by NECA $41 save $5

- SYLVANIA 100 LED Warm White Mini Lights $8 (save 2)

- Yankee Candle Large Jar Candle Vanilla Cupcake $17 (save $12)

- Malden 8-Opening Matted Collage Picture Frame $20 (save $8)

- Lush Decor Blue and Gray Flower Curtains Pair $57 (save $55)

- LEVOIT Essential Oil Diffuser $25 (save $5)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Notorious B.I.G.'s Iconic "King of New York" Crown Is Expected to Fetch More Than $200,000 at Auction

B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y), taken by Barron Claiborne.
B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y), taken by Barron Claiborne.
Sotheby's

The crown the Notorious B.I.G. donned for a portrait session on March 6, 1997, isn’t inherently valuable. Its gold base and inlaid gemstones are made of plastic, and P. Diddy even reportedly said Biggie looked like “the Burger King” while wearing it. As a cultural object, however, it’s priceless.

The legendary rapper was shot and killed just three days after he sat down for the session, and the photo of him staring dolefully into the camera lens, crown askew, is one of the most iconic images in music history.

The Notorious Burger King.Sotheby's

Soon we’ll find out how much someone is willing to pay to take the headgear home with them: Sotheby’s is auctioning it off on September 15, and it’s expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000. The crown, which is missing one point, still has pieces of foam along the inner rim that were added to make it fit more snugly. It’s also signed by the photographer, Barron Claiborne—and by Biggie, the “King of New York,” himself.

Claiborne's inscription reads "Crown from Biggie KONY Shot. 3-6-97."Sotheby's

Along with the crown, the buyer will receive three 36-inch-by-40-inch prints: the regular B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y) photograph; a 10th anniversary edition, titled Notorious B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y) Tunz-O-Gunz, which recreates the classic photo with a collage of tiny images of guns; and a contact sheet with nine shots from the session.

The lot is part of an auction devoted entirely to the history of hip-hop, a first for any major international auction house. Other items include a collection of love letters Tupac Shakur wrote to his high school sweetheart, Salt-N-Pepa’s matching “Push It” jackets, and more. You can explore the other offerings here.