This is another estate sale find – a very small (smaller than 1/6th plate) tintype of what appears to be a father and son. I’m hesitantly calling it an occupational because they seem to be wearing work clothes. This must have been an inexpensive image given the small size of the plate and the fact that it’s not in a case or paper sleeve or any kind of protection, but if you look carefully, they did pay extra for the hand-coloring of their cheeks and the drapery on the stool the father is sitting on.
Regardless, it’s an interesting image, as it raises all kinds of mental questions about what’s going on here- who were they, why did they sit for this photo, why did they not dress better if it is not an occupational photo, and why, if it is an occupational, do they not have any tools of their trade in the photo?
These were an auction lot, which is why I’m showing them together. The first two are 1/9th plates, and the second two, 1/6th plates. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary or earthshaking here, but nonetheless, a very interesting grab-bag of stuff that fills some holes in my collection.
The first image here, of the old lady, is a ruby-glass ambrotype. I apologize for all the dust, but when I removed the packet from the case, I discovered that the paper seals were complete and intact, so I did not want to break them just to remove a little dust. What’s interesting about this is the mat – it appears to be painted paper, rather than stamped brass or gilded copper. It’s the first of this kind I’ve seen.
This little tintype, image-wise, is nothing at all special. I do like her dress though – you can see she had fishnet lace shoulders. What’s interesting about this one (and it’s hard to tell from the scan of the package) is that the mat and preserver are extremely clean, bright and shiny as if they were put on yesterday. I’ve not seen such before. I’m confident that they are not modern reproductions recently applied.
A nice, generic tintype of a middle-aged man.
This was another unusual item. I know it was done, but infrequently – this is not an ambrotype or tintype or daguerreotype, but rather what I believe is a salt print (the reason I don’t think albumen is that the surface is extremely matte, and it is relatively low-resolution – albumens are typically much glossier and have pretty high resolution). If it is indeed a salt print, it is one of the first in my collection. I wonder if this is not a copy of a daguerreotype or ambrotype:
- The outfits, especially his necktie, seem to be from the 1840s/50s
- I have not seen many paper images in small plate sizes like this – this is a 1/6th plate
- The low resolution could also be a symptom of being a third-generation copy (original plate, paper copy negative, paper print)
Also interesting to see is the gilding of her jewelry – the rouging of the cheeks is not at all surprising, but the gilding of a paper image is not something I’ve run across before. This one, also a 1/6 plate
My latest acquisition- this was quite a surprise to find at an online estate auction: a 5×7 (roughly 1/2 plate) tintype in a gilt 8×10 frame, of an identified Union soldier. This is another case of it pays to do a little research when selling- the subject was misidentified as Thomas Hanks, and the rest of the information present in the label was described as “illegible”. It truly is hard to read, but a few minutes playing around in Photoshop and a few more minutes on the US Park Service Civil War Soldiers database (Search Soldiers) got me the confirmation of what I have. Thomas Adams was killed at the Siege of Petersburg on August 12, 1864. He managed to avoid the Battle of the Crater only to die some two weeks later.