Friday, July 09, 2010

Carte de Visite: Why are these stamps on the back?

"Tell me about the rabbits, George"

Note how the photographer has tried to hide the neck rest stands by blacking them out. The gentleman on the left wears a straw pork pie hat from the period.

On the back of the Carte de Visite of two men from the Civil War Period is the name of the photographer and a 2 cent green Washington stamp. [Why am I reminded of Of Mice and Men?]

If you collect any of the CDVs, you soon ask what the stamp means. According to Old Photographic: the Online Vintage Photography Magazine, the stamps were tax revenue stamps imposed on photographers in 1864. These were put on the back of the photographs to show that the tax had been paid.

In 1865, congress reduced the stamp for some images to 1 cent and that same year repealed the stamp act altogether, meaning you will not find a stamp on a photograph made after 1865.

Here's two more that have stamps on the back, meaning they are 1864-1865 in period.

T. C. Bauer
151 South High St. West Side.
Columbus, Ohio.
3 cent stamp on back.

Jas. M. Dow's Photographic Galleries
Ford St.
Ogdensburg, N.Y.
2 cent stamp of Washington

[The Gentleman above wears a style of whiskers either called Franz Josef, after the Austrian Emperor, or a variation of sidewhiskers popularized by Union General Ambrose Burnside which gave our term "sideburns."]

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