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Civil War Tin Type

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Posted 5 years ago


(1 item)

I think this is an officer from the civil war. If anyone can actually help me out that would be awesome.

Mystery Solved


  1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
    I think this may be West Point.
  2. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Your image is actually a daguerreotype and pre- dates the tintype and the Civil War.

    Your soldier is an 1850s militia soldier.

    The hat badge will help to ID state. Also there appears to be a photographers stamp on the brass matting-- if you relay that name, I can give you a city/ state as well.

    Daguerreotypes of soldiers are very desirable and collectible.

  3. biffyclyro, 5 years ago
    Hey Scott, thanks you were super helpful with all that info! I see that the name at the bottom says J.T. Lealy or Zealy. I stares at this for hours I dunno how I missed that!
  4. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    I thought that I saw a Palmetto on the hat badge and the photographer confirms he is most likely SC!

    From Craig's cameras:

    "Zealy, Joseph (James) T.
    One source recorded him in Columbia, S.C. as early as November, 1846, and noted he apparently received an award at the South Carolina Institute for his daguerreian work. In 1851 he was listed at 2 Granite Rrange. Another note indicated he opened new rooms in December, 1851 in the Davis Block, over Goodwin's Store. May or not have been the same address. An ad noted the gallery had a piano for lady customers, and a mammoth camera for double whole-plate images. In 1856 he was listed in Petersburg, Va., and then returned to the same address in Columbia in 1859. Probably the "Zeley" noted by one source in Columbia c. December, 1854. Some references noted him as James. He first advertised in Columbia in November and December, 1846. By February, 1856 he advertised ambrotypes, and in 1859 advertised his Combined Sky Light and Photograph Gallery."

    As I said before this is a VERY desirable daguerreotype!

  5. biffyclyro, 5 years ago
    Wow that's amazing. Thanks for all the info. I'm def going to keep this guy around for a very very long time! I got it in a box for about $30 with a few more. Would you have any idea how much this would be worth?
  6. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Yes. It depends on size. If a sixth plate (2 3/4" X 3 1/4"), MORE than a 100 times what you paid!

    It can probably be IDd to a specific unit as well.

  7. biffyclyro, 5 years ago
    No kidding that's the exact size it's small about 2 inch by 3 inches... So you're telling me it's worth about $3,000?!?!
  8. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    The measurements are for the photo plate itself not the entire case.

    And I am not kidding in the slightest-- my estimate is low end and conservative.

    Be sure not to mess with it-- they are easily damaged by folks trying to "clean them".

  9. biffyclyro, 5 years ago
    I def won't be trying to clean it. With the case is about 4 inches or so. That's crazy I seriously can't believe this. Thanks for all your help!
  10. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    The South Carolina Confederate Relic Room may be able to provide additional information to nail down a specific unit for this soldier (based on the hat badge and uniform). An online search will give you their contact information.

  11. biffyclyro, 5 years ago
    Awesome, again such a big help. I'll call them tomorrow it says they are closed on Mondays.
  12. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Ask to talk with the one of the curators. Your image is something that I would expect that they would want to use in a display (or at a minimum have a copy of it for their archives). Offering to give them permission for their INTERNAL MUSEUM USE may help in getting assistance.

    I used to know the director-- I helped them with an antique photograph display about 20 years ago-- but it looks like he has retired now.

  13. AmberRose AmberRose, 5 years ago
    Scott, I am always impressed on what a detective you are. Really interesting information and resources.
    Biff, can you keep us updated? I'm riveted!

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