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    Abraham Lincoln: A Stunning Example of the Iconic George Clark Ambrotype. Although photographic campaign items did have very limited use in the elections of 1848-1856, it was in 1860 that photographic novelties had a transformative effect on American politics. The most famous example is this Lincoln portrait known as the "Cooper Union" pose. The nation's leading portrait photographer, Mathew Brady, took the image while Lincoln was in New York to give a speech at Cooper Union Institute, in February 1860. Lincoln was then merely one of many aspirants to the Republican presidential nomination, and the dissemination of this photograph played a major role in his emergence on the national scene. Collectors have long considered this impressive 2.125" x 2.5" brooch to be the premier photographic item from that landmark election. It was produced by "Geo. Clark, Jr & Co, Ambrotype Artists" in two forms: holed at the top for suspension and with a vertical pin on reverse. This pinback version is generally considered the preferred type, as it inaugurates a long tradition of pinback campaign badges. Clark also produced a few similar ambros for Bell and Douglas, but most likely these were samples, not widely distributed as were the Lincolns. (Interestingly, no Breckinridge example has ever surfaced.)

    Condition is often a problem with this item. The photographic emulsion on the underside of the glass was prone to flaking and bubbling, and easily scraped away if unprotected. The thin glass also cracked easily, as seen on many examples. Accordingly, hobbyists have always placed a high premium on examples in excellent condition. This George Clark ambrotype from the Frent Collection is unimprovable, what the baseball card hobby would term a "blazer!" Front and back, it is essentially in mint condition, and the portrait is ideally centered (centering varies considerably on these, with some distractingly centered to one side or towards the bottom).

    For many years, the consignors owned what they believed to be the finest known example-until this one came along! The specimen which was upgraded to the one offered here left their collection and has subsequently been owned by two of the hobby's most famously condition-conscious collectors. The Lincoln ambrotype offered here is simply "the best of the best". If one could own but a single item to represent Abraham Lincoln's candidacy, there could be no better choice. We congratulate in advance the next custodian of this historic artifact.
    From the Collection of David and Janice Frent

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    24th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,202

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