I'm right there with you Eric. I think it is sad too. I understand that there will be a certain percentage of old family photos that will end up sold due to the family line dying out, but I think too many just don't value their past. I don't think there is anything arrogant or foolish about valuing your family history.
It's sad to sell family photos even from the individualistic American perspective. Someday someone's going to have a child that looks just like one of those ancestors, but won't have a copy left as a conversation piece.
I'm more curious about respecting the living than the dead, though. My son looks a lot like his mother's cousin whom I've never met. We're divorced and not on good terms and she hasn't seen her cousin in probably 40 years. Why stop at dissing the dead when you can dis living relatives too?
My philosophy is to know thyself, including family and history, but not to be limited to or defined by it. My ex on the other hand, defines relationships and priorities by convenience and doesn't have contact with any of her bridesmaids from when we married 18 years ago. I tell my sons that it's not a matter of good or bad, they are just different.