Cabinet cards dating

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Cartes of popular subjects could be bought at local stores. Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln and famous theatres actors were popular subjects. Collecting cartes and putting them into specially made albums was a popular hobby, and many of these albums exist today. Cartes come in many photographic and mount styles. Some are plain, while others are ornate. Along with the subject in the image style of uniforms, type of equipment, identifiable athlete, etc , cartes can be dated by the style of the mount, as this changed over time.

The following describes the general trends.

Exceptions to these trends will be found. Albumen prints were regularly used until the early to mid s. Most s cartes will have gelatin-silver prints with more black and white images. Examples with carbon prints and cyanotypes bright blue images are rare but can be found. The mount corners are square. A square cornered CDV is reliably dated the s or s. While often there is the studio name printed on back, there usually is no printed text on the front.

Unusually small vignetted images oval images date to this period example pictured on next page. Starting in the early s the mounts had rounded corners and came in more colors.

By the mid s gold gilded, beveled edges were used. By the s dark colors were common and the mount often had scalloped edges. The mount thickness changed over time, with the earlier ones being thinner than the later ones. The s mounts are typically thinner than the s mounts which are typically thinner than the s and later mounts. Having inexpensive examples from different years on hand will help judge thickness. In the s the logo was relatively small and with conservative font. As the years went by the design became larger and more ornate, sometimes taking up the entire back.

Note that s and early s CDVs that were used as trade cards give away cards advertising a product or service can have larger advertisements on back. Large ornate studio names on the bottom front of the mount are typical of late s cartes. The early studio backgrounds in the images were typically plain. By the late s backgrounds were often busy and garish. Tax stamps on the back of CDVs help give a date.


From August 1 st to August 1 st the US government required that tax stamps be put on photographs. A later amendment allowed for 1 cent stamps to be used. CDVs with a 1 cent stamp date between March and August Blue stamps are from the summer of The stamps often have a cancellation date.

Card Colors

However, if everything else looks consistent with the era, a tax stamp is a great bonus and will usually raise the value. Typical to the era, the front has square corners and plain white borders. The back has a small photography studio text and a 2 cent tax stamp. Also notice that there is little in the background behind the young soldier. Cincinnati Red Stockings baseball team.

  • Imprints - Front and Back!
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On the left is a s CDV with a small, conservative photography text. Matte collodion was used in the same period. A true black-and-white image on a cabinet card is likely to have been produced in the s or after The last cabinet cards were produced in the s, even as late as Owing to the larger image size, the cabinet card steadily increased in popularity during the second half of the s and into the s, replacing the carte de visite as the most popular form of portraiture.

The cabinet card was large enough to be easily viewed from across the room when typically displayed on a cabinet, which is probably why they became known as such in the vernacular. However, when the renowned Civil War photographer Mathew Brady first started offering them to his clientele towards the end of , he used the trademark "Imperial Carte-de-Visite. Early in its introduction, the cabinet card ushered in the temporary disuse of the photographic album which had come into existence commercially with the carte de visite.

Photographers began employing artists to retouch photographs by altering the negative before making the print to hide facial defects revealed by the new format.


Cabinet Cards

Small stands and photograph frames for the table top replaced the heavy photograph album. Photo album manufacturers responded by producing albums with pages primarily for cabinet cards with a few pages in the back reserved for the old family carte de visite prints. For nearly three decades after the s, the commercial portraiture industry was dominated by the carte de visite and cabinet card formats.

In the decade before , the number and variety of card photograph styles expanded in response to declining sales.

Cabinet card - Wikipedia

The borders lines or artwork on the card and the manner in which the card edges were cut or treated are some of the best known clues to dating the cabinet card. Characteristics to look for are:. None Thick gilt border to card edge Single thin line Embossed patterns Artistic underscore. No single rule applies across all cards. Card edges experienced numerous changes during the latter s.

Cabinet card

These included beveled edges, gilt treatment, and scalloped edges. Throughout the time however, plain straight cut edges could be found also. The simplest ones were the cheapest and there was always a market for them. Read an overview, detail outline, and sample pages of the most complete guide to Cabinet Cards. Everything you need in a step-by-step guide to help you establish a reliable date of your cabinet cards.

Beginning of modern portrait photography.

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Some of the characteristics to look at include: Card Colors Initially, cabinet cards were made from natural raw bristol board, both front and back. Dark cards popular from to Imprints - Front and Back Imprints are the text and artwork printed on the card. Front Imprint Several style changes are easily datable.

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Small, plain print Artistic print Foil stamped artistic print Embossed artistic print.