George Clark Lincoln ambrotype.Abraham Lincoln: Sought After Large Ambrotype Portrait Badge from the 1860 Campaign. Oft-illustrated, this classic may well be the most familiar of early political campaign items. It features the renowned "Cooper Union" image of Lincoln, taken by Matthew Brady when Lincoln gave a legendary campaign speech at that New York landmark. Most 1860 photographic campaign badges incorporate tintype portraits. In this one, the photo emulsion is applied in reverse to the underside of a thin glass covering, which is then set into an ornate brass shell frame. On the verso is a cardboard insert with "For President, Hon. Abraham Lincoln", as well as advertising for the manufacturer, Geo. Clark, Jr., & Co. of Boston. For anyone who has examined a number of the surviving examples, it is easy to understand why the tintype enjoyed much greater popularity over the long run among manufacturers of political novelties. If the thin glass became cracked, the image was severely compromised. Furthermore, the thin emulsion could be easily scraped off, and was prone to flaking or bubbling if moisture seeped into the poorly sealed case. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of surviving examples exhibit condition problems, often quite serious.
The present example is a distinctly superior one, with a strong, bold image, and only a single flake, unobtrusively located on Lincoln's necktie. There are evenly scattered, very minor light moisture marks in the fields, which give the appearance of light soiling. With the choicest examples consistently selling for upwards of $30,000, the present copy is a very affordable one with a very pleasing display appearance. These George Clark ambros are found in two varieties- some have a vertical pin assembly on verso, while others, like this one, are neatly holed at the top for suspension. Each type has its proponents, but we will observe that the present form has the advantage that the cardboard insert on the back is not defaced by the pin assembly. Height 2.625", diameter 2.125".
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