This has to be about the finest daguerreotype I own, quality-wise. It was an estate sale purchase on an online estate auction site. When listed, the picture looked bad, but having seen enough of these, my intuition said, “the cover glass is just dirty”. I bid, and won.
Well, I was right. When it arrived, there was a lot of dust inside the cover glass. The original seals were present, but they were totally shot. I removed them, opened the packet, and BOOM! This is what I found underneath. I have since cleaned the cover glass and will shortly be re-sealing with films-last tape. The dust you see in the scan here is now on the outside. I’m in awe of the gentle hand-coloring you see in his face and hands, and the texture of his waistcoat. You can practically feel the silk just looking at it!
This is a quarter-plate dag in leather case, probably late 1840s or at the latest early 1850s.
The latest arrival in my collection – a new CDV of the Thumb “family” including the rent-a-baby, in a pose I haven’t seen before, combined with an advertising verso. The grand irony of the advertisement is that it violates the prime directive of advertising – let your customers know WHERE to get your products. Where on earth (let alone what street in what town in what state) is B. Green’s Modern Wonder Department??
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.
This is another CDV I’ve been looking for for a long time – Che Mah, the Chinese Dwarf. I had previously purchased a copy that was in faded condition, thinking it would be some time before I’d find another in better shape. Then this one rolled around.
Unlike the facsimile signatures on the versos of a bunch of my Tom Thumb CDVs, I do believe the pencil signature in English and Chinese is in the hand of Che Mah directly. It certainly does not appear to be mechanically reproduced, and it looks distinct from the signature on the first one:
I just acquired another CDV of Lavinia Warren by Appleton of New York. What’s interesting is that here the photographer, A.A. Turner, is also credited on the studio imprint. I’m assuming that in order for this to have happened, Mr. Turner must have been a financial partner in the business or otherwise a major player, because the other name studios of the period never credited the camera operators, even ones who later went on to have extremely notable careers of their own (Timothy O’Sullivan and Alexander Gardner both worked for Mathew Brady at some point but are not credited on Brady’s cartes de visite, even when Gardner was Brady’s studio manager in DC and helped restore the financial well-being of the studio).
For comparison I’m including the other Lavinia Warren image by Appleton I have:
These appear to be different sittings, as her outfit and the furniture in both scenes are different.