DescriptionAbraham Lincoln: A Superb, Choice Example of the Iconic George Clark 1860 Campaign Ambrotype, Measuring 2.125" x 2.5". It features the "Cooper Union" portrait by Mathew Brady, and is universally regarded as the premier Lincoln photographic item from the 1860 election. Original cardboard insert on reverse carries the legend, "For President, Hon. Abraham Lincoln." Almost certainly the first 1860 photographic campaign item, it features a perfectly centered ambrotype image set in a gold colored shell frame (ambrotypes, the precursor of tintypes, were made by applying the photographic emulsion to the underside of a sheet of glass, rather than to a tin surface). While at least three companion piece for opponents Stephen Douglas and John Bell are known, it is clear that Lincoln was by far the most popular subject. However, the vast majority of surviving examples exhibit significant condition issues: flaking or scratches on the emulsion, cracks in the glass, etc. It has been some years since we can recall seeing an example of this quality on the market, essentially as fresh as the day it was made. Specimens of this quality have previously sold for over $20,000 to as much as $30,000, and we would certainly expect the Dolson example to equal or exceed that range.
George Clark ambros are found, in roughly equal numbers, in two forms: with a large wearing pin and clasp on verso or holed at the top for suspension. The Dolson copy is of the latter type, and even retains the original blue silk suspension ribbon. The question of which is the preferred version is largely a matter of personal taste. Some collectors prefer the first version as it falls within the continuum of pinback political badges. Others prefer the second form, because the large pin on the back usually deface the printing on the insert card.
As stated, this is an all-but-unimprovable example, and only for strictest accuracy do we note some very trivial slight lifting of the emulsion near the rim on Lincoln's right shoulder, likely as made. Surely one of the prize items in this remarkable collection. From the Scott W. Dolson Collection.
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