Billionaire Michael Dell‘s investment firm MSD Capital, L.P has purchased the entire New York print archive of renowned photo agency Magnum Photos, totaling nearly 200,000 images. The collection includes some of the most iconic images throughout history, including photos of world leaders, celebrities, and major events such as World War II. Though the price was not disclosed, the collection was previously insured for over $100 million.
Under the agreement, the prints will be preserved, catalogued, and made accessible by the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin. While MSD Capital purchased all of the physical prints, Magnum’s member photographers will still retain the copyright and licensing rights to all of the photographs.
Thomas F. Staley, director of the Ransom Center, states,
This is a singularly valuable collection in the history of photography, [...] It brings together some of the finest photojournalists of the profession and spans more than a half century of contributions to the medium.
The collection was relocated to Texas from New York City in December 2009 on two trailer trucks.
Update: Jonathan from Magnum Photos informs us that the acquisition encompasses the entire press print archive, not the entire archive of the agency. We’ve changed “print” to “press” in the title to reflect this.
Update: We’ve fixed a couple typos that ajehals pointed out. Thanks!