DescriptionAbraham Lincoln: An Iconic George Clark Ambrotype Brooch. Perhaps the most famous of all photographic political badges, this large (2.125" x 2.625") pin-backed brooch features an ambrotype version of the immortal Brady "Cooper Union" Lincoln photo. Ambrotypes preceded tintypes, and utilized a similar emulsion, but applied in reverse to the underside of the glass rather than to the top of a tin surface. Because of their fragility they faded from use in the early 1860s in favor of the more durable tintype.
These Lincoln ambrotypes come in two forms. Some were made with a suspension loop at the top, while others, like this example, had a large vertical pin on verso. This one is in choice, near mint condition, with the original back made of coated stock, reading "For President, Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Manufactured by Geo. Clark, Jr & Co., Ambrotype Artists, No. 59 Court Street, Boston."
As the photo shows, this is a beautiful example, but for accuracy we note two inoffensive manufacturing flaws.
(1) There is a vertical "line" of irregularity in the emulsion, in the field to the right of the portrait.
(2) There is a vertical line which gives the appearance of being a fine scratch on the surface of the glass. However, there is no such scratch on the surface. The emulsion is completely unaffected on the underside. Our conclusion is that the underside of the glass received a fine scratch prior to the application of the emulsion, which is visible "above" the emulsion surface when viewed from
Both of these minor flaws are visible only when the light strikes the surface at just the right angle. Given the emulsion flaking often encountered in Clark Lincoln ambros, the present example is-on the whole-well above average. It should satisfy even the highly condition-conscious collector.
As a matter of interest, we note that we have encountered one matching example for Stephen Douglas and one for John Bell (we have never seen a Breckinridge version). Clearly in the Northeast, where George Clark operated, Lincoln was by far the more popular candidate.
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