The inscription on the back is a bit cryptic – “Please Exchange”. Exchange for what? Unless they didn’t like the pose, I can’t see what’s wrong with it to want to exchange it. The CDV is actually in excellent condition, with no creases, bent corners, or overall flaws to the print. I’m certainly happy with it!
He looks “western” with that hat and coat, but that’s not saying much – although the outfit has a cowboy feel to it, he’s obviously a very rich cowboy, as that’s a very fine coat. Brooks Brothers would be proud to hang such a coat in their showroom today.
For your evening’s delectation, here is a nicely hand-colored CDV of an anonymous lady from Havana, Cuba. This is only the second CDV I have with an association with Cuba – I have a C.D. Fredericks that lists the Havana studio on the back mark, but is not necessarily taken there. In this case, Mr. B. Palmer, Artist, Havana is the only designation, so I must assume the photo was indeed taken in Havana. No street address is mentioned, which would be neat to have to be able to cross-check at some point in the future to see if his studio still stood. The entire backmark is in English, so I wonder if he catered to the tourist trade exclusively. The lady in the photo appears to be an adult, so I’ve called her Dama and not Señorita.
Ok, I’ve been waiting for a while to get this one. I originally saw a listing with a copy of this image on Ebay for somewhat north of $300. I debated and debated whether to get it or not. After much consideration, I passed on it, thinking that the signatures on the back were most likely facsimiles, and not original signatures. Patience paid off – another copy (the one I bought) showed up. While not quite as nice a condition, it actually looks much better in person than it does in the scans. My copy had the added benefit of being less than a quarter of the current asking price of the other copy I passed on.
For those not familiar with the subject matter, Charles Stratton, AKA General Tom Thumb, was a star of the P.T. Barnum sideshow and performer from the 1840s to the late 1870s. He was born a relatively large, healthy baby but stopped growing significantly before his second birthday. At his tallest he was 3 feet 4 inches. In 1863, he married another dwarf, Lavinia Warren. His best man was George W.M. Nutt, a fellow dwarf and performer in Barnum’s circus, and Lavinia’s bridesmaid was her younger sister, Minnie, also a dwarf. The event was dubbed “The Fairy Wedding” and was the social event of the year. Two thousand guests packed Grace Episcopal Church in Manhattan. After the wedding, Charles and Lavinia went to Washington where they were received by President Lincoln. Charles, Lavinia, George and Minnie posed for Matthew Brady who went on to sell CDVs of the photo as souvenirs of the wedding through his publisher, E. & H.T. Anthony. This is one of the E. & H.T. Anthony productions.
I’ve been a little overzealous in my collecting lately, so it’s going to go on hiatus. Well, unless I come across some nice Washington DC based CDVs at bargain prices. See, collecting is an addiction. Fortunately, unless you get into the realm of hoarding, it’s one addiction that doesn’t require interventions or support groups.
Anyway, back on topic, here’s a rather special CDV worthy of being the pausing point (the pause that refreshes?). Napoleon III, last Emperor of France. Taken in London at the studios of W. & D. Downey, photographers to Her Majesty.