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Hints For Dating an Ancestor Photograph
CornersFrom 1859 on, CDVs had square cut corners. Be careful to note that often album owners cut the corners to make the photos fit into album slots. From 1872 on, corners were rounded.
Card BacksIn the 1860s the backs of CDVs were very thin, often they were layers of paper/cardboard. By 1870 the backs were getting thicker. By the later 1880s and 1890s the backs were very thick.
Verso (Back)The 1860s verso had a simple logo and writing, somewhat like an ink stamp.
By 1865 the logo had changed to a design in the middle. Sometimes ribbons, scrolls and other decorations can be seen. Usually there was a “Copies can be had” statement.
By 1868 logo designs had begun to be much more intricate and by the 1870s there was usually a design within a shaped frame.
Another method of dating old photographs is to look for the Photographer's printed address on the back of the card, then research the known dates of his studios.
Collectors of cartes-de-visite often have one or more prized Civil War photographs that have revenue stamps affixed on the reverse side. Because these stamps were required on photographs only from 1864 to 1866, their presence (or their absence) gives us the approximate dates of ancestor photographs of the Civil War era. Often the photographer dated the revenue stamp which gives us an exact date the photograph was taken.
View Ancestor Photo Albums | Identify Ancestor Photos: Types of Early Photographs | Hints for Dating Old Photographs | Dating Old Photographs through Clothing & Hairstyle | How Revenue Stamps Can Date Ancestor Photos
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