Posted 12 years ago
This is a SIXTH plate photographic case, identified as Berg 3- 109 (Ninteenth Century Photographic Cases and Wall Frames).
The hard plastic material is called THERMOPLASTIC a union of gum shellac, wood fiber and a dye; hence the term UNION CASE was often used in the era of manufacture to refer to these cases (and is still used today). The material is NOT "gutta percha", a heated tree sap, although many antique dealers and collectors erroneously use this term.
This particular example carries a "Scovill Mf'g Co." label. The die for the case was originally engraved by Frederick Key and his last name can be found in the design.
Typically red felt is used in photographic cases as the "pillow" cloth, but I find other colors have a more extravagent look. I especially like the blues and greens.
Like many antiques and collectables, prices for these cases really took a nose dive due to ebay and internet sales. 15 years ago, cases of this style and size would typical sell in the $125- 150 range. Now they can be bought at about the $75 level.
Thermoplastic cases can really enhance the display of a quality image.
Thanks for looking,