History of Atlantic Fleet Sales

Atlantic Fleet Sales owner, pilot and photographer Nobe Smith

We began in 1945 as Liberty Picture Company operating out of Richmond, California and between 1954 and 2008 as Atlantic Fleet Sales in Norfolk, Virginia.  Our principal business was to supply Naval Ships Stores with emblematic merchandise and photographic images of ships.  Our photographic archive dates from 1945 and consists of mostly original large format (4x5") black and white negatives taken by Liberty on the West Coast with a few copied USN photos.  Photographic coverage of both Atlantic and Pacific fleets began around 1951.  Pre-1950 views are mostly all waterlevel.  The company began aerial photography of ships in Hampton Roads in the 1950s.   During the late 1960s there was some overlapping color and black and white photographic coverage of ships, while we moved completely to color in the early 1970s.


Primary cameras used have been a 4x5 Speed Graphic and K-20 Aerial for black and white, and a Pentax 6x7 for color.  Aerial photography has been performed mainly from a Cessna 150 and 172.  Most views are obtained in Hampton Roads between the Norfolk Naval Base and the Chesapeake Light House. Our photography consists mainly of US Navy ships but also includes Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, NOAA and foreign warships.  After 9/11 the Navy no longer permitted close proximity flying around warships and our photo coverage ended at that time.

The owner of Atlantic Fleet Sales, Nobe Smith, passed away in Sept. 2009.  He will be sorely missed by all those familiar with his unique perspective of Navy history, his generous sharing of the enormous photo archive, and above all his sincere friendship, kind spirit and warm humor.  Nobe's son, Cole Smith, seen on the right above, will maintain this web site and continue to provide ship photos to Navy veterans, their families and collectors.