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Cased Tintype

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Photographs3120 of 4493Photo Prop: Same Chair?Cased Tintype of Thomas Alvis
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Posted 6 years ago

(136 items)

This, I think, is a cased tintype. Originally I thought it was a daguerreotype, but they're older than tintypes, so I figure this must be a tintype (please tell me if I'm wrong). I do not know who this man is, he must be a relative. This was with the photo of Thomas Alvis that I posted (I'm thinking the same family). The case is in EXCELLENT condition, it doesn't seem to be wood (maybe it is though).
Is this man dressed in a uniform of any kind? What's the date of this image approx.?
Any information about this piece would be helpful & appreciated!!


  1. antiquesareamazing antiquesareamazing, 6 years ago
    Am I entirely incorrect or does this guy look like the guy with the beard in this one... http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/27707-2-full-plate-tin-types-painted
  2. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    It is a tintype in a thermoplastic case.

    I am not certain on this one-- but I would certainly say it is more likely than not that he is wearing a uniform. The jacket looks like it may be a Union 9 button frock coat. Additionally, his vest appears to be military style as well.

    I would date your image to the Civil War time period (about 1861- 1866).

  3. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 6 years ago
    Hey, antiquesareamazing, U know how all white people look alike! Guess I've been living in the 3rd world too long.
    For uniforms, I've seen these where they say it is a union uniform but to me quite often looks Confederate. I'm surprised they knew who to shoot at!
    I agree that it looks like a uniform(which side?). Just glad that so many of these things survived.
  4. antiquesareamazing antiquesareamazing, 6 years ago
    Hi blunderbuss2! I'm so glad things like this survived, too, and that they stayed with the family!!
    I was also curious which side the uniform is for, the Union or the Confederacy?
    The hat seems to be unique, whether that's part of the uniform I don't know. The basic private wouldn't have a hat like that I wouldn't think. Either he's higher ranking or the hat is just an accessory. I have family who fought on both sides of the war, so either way would make sense! I wish I could get more information on this guy - I have a photo of an old relative and I don't know who it is, it makes me crazy sometimes!!
    I'm also wondering about the case, does the engraving tell anything about the person? Or, is the engraving simply just decorative?
    Thanks for the comment, blunderbuss2! Hopefully someone can answer these questions!!
  5. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    The uniform coat looks similar to a UNION 9 button frock coat.

    Hats similar to this were worn by common soldiers as well as officers.

    If he were an officer, he would have rank on his shoulder.

    The thermoplastic case is not engraved. These made in molds-- hot thermoplastic was poured into the mold, cooled and then finished. The cases were available in hundreds of different styles and designs. Usually the purchasers just picked something that they liked. There were patriotic versions of these cases that were popular during the Civil War years.

  6. antiquesareamazing antiquesareamazing, 6 years ago
    Excellent! Thanks for the details on the uniform & the clarification about the thermoplastic case.
    Your knowledge is a grand resource to everyone here on Collector's Weekly!
  7. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 6 years ago
    Everybody does realize that these photographers put "props" in the hands of the people being photographed? I hope! They put revolvers, swords etc. in their subject's hands for the pictures. Make a private look like a Maj. or a General. You never really know the status of the person.
  8. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Disagree-- I have collected Civil War for over thirty years (with a focus on photography).

    Photographs certainly used prop weapons, but I have not seen prop uniforms.

    Uniforms of privates/ co. grade officers/ field grade/ General officers are all different. As today impersonating an officer (wearing an officer uniform/ rank) was a punishable offense.

    Prop weapons enhanced the scare factor of an image but it didn't extend to impersonation of an officer.

  9. antiquesareamazing antiquesareamazing, 5 years ago
    I was advised my an auctioneer on how to take the tintype out of its case to look for a name. He told me that there was more than likely something behind the photo. Well... nothing. After meticulously and slowly taking it apart, there was absolutely nothing! I was nervous to dismantle it, because it's in fantastic condition. I did get it back together and looking great as usual.
    I was very disappointed to find nothing. I was hoping for a name...

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