Pioneering photography offered in Jasper52 auction July 15

Pioneering photography

Flutist 1/6th plate daguerreotype in full case, late 1950s, 2 5/8in x 3¼in. Estimate: $1,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image

NEW YORK – Images from the early years of commercial photography are the focus of an online auction that will be conducted by Jasper52 on Wednesday, July 15. Bid absentee or live online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.

Thirty-two of the 51 lots are daguerreotypes, the first successful form of photography, named for Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre of France, who invented the technique in collaboration with Nicéphore Niépce in the 1830s. A daguerreotype is a photograph taken by a process employing an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapor. These unique images from the mid-19th century are prized by collectors, who look for interesting and unusual subjects.

One such daguerreotype is a late 1850s portrait of a balding gentleman playing the flute (above). This 1/6 plate, a standard size measuring 2 5/8 inches by 3¼ inches, is protected by a full case with a scarlet pad. This fascinating image is expected to sell for $1,500-$3,000.

Another 1/6 plate daguerreotype is housed in a full Boston-style push-button case that holds a full-length picture of a well-dressed youngster holding a harmonica (below). This 1950s studio image is valued at $750-$1,500.

Pioneering photography

Toddler with harmonica 1/6th plate daguerreotype in full Boston-style push-button case, 2 5/8in x 3¼in, 1850s. Estimate: $750-$1,500. Jasper52 image

While the first photographic images were in black and white, commercial photographers sometimes added touches of color tinting. An example is seen in a portrait of a mother and daughter, whose bonnet is tinted robin’s egg blue and a sprig of flowers is daubed with pink. The daughter’s stern gaze is likely the result of holding the pose for the extended period necessary for the correct exposure. The 1/4 plate daguerreotype, 3 1/8 inches by 4 1/8 inches, is also from the 1850s (est. $500-$1,000).

Pioneering photography

Woman and girl 1/4th plate daguerreotype in full case, 3 1/8in x 4 1/8in, 1850s. Estimate: $500-$1,000. Jasper52 image

Commercial photographers also ventured outside their studios to work in daylight. A fine example is the nicely framed image of a young child wearing a jacket and hat and seated in a wicker baby buggy. This 1/6 plate daguerreotype is again from the 1950s (est. $1,000-$1,500).

Pioneering photography

Outdoor baby in buggy 1/6th plate daguerreotype in full case, 2 5/8in x 3¼in, 1850s. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Jasper52 image

Another 1/6 plate daguerreotype pictures a mother and son, who’s wearing a cowboy hat and a coat trimmed in ermine. The little dude, about 2 years old, has tinted blue eyes and a kind expression as he nestles comfortably against his mother’s side. She is wearing a fancy bonnet. Close examination shows that she moved her head slightly while the camera lens was uncapped, resulting in a slight blur. This early 1850s image has a $450-$900 estimate.

Pioneering photography

Ermine trimmed cowboy and mother 1/6th plate daguerreotype full case with blue pad, 2 5/8in x 3¼in, early 1850s. Estimate: $450-$900. Jasper52 image

Also offered in the Jasper52 auction of 19th Century Early Photography are ambrotypes (on glass) and tintypes, popular photographic processes of the era.

The online auction of pioneering photography will take place on Wednesday, July 15, starting at noon Eastern time.

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