I was stunned when I came across this tintype. Usually people are always asking me if I have any photographs of famous people, and I never do. Well lo and behold it is the first time in over thirty five years of collecting that I believe I have finally found one. I do not have any documentation as to the subject of this tintype, but I have looked up numerous images of this notorious figure, from the darkest period in American history. He is a spiting image of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin. Other known tintypes of John Wilkes Booth, routinely sell for $1500 to $2500, but absent other documentation relating to the photograph, I have priced it accordingly. You be the judge.
John Wilkes Booth was a known actor from a prominent theatrical family which included his brother Edwin. During the latter part of the civil war, John was an outspoken confederate sympathizer who denounced President Lincoln and lamented the abolition of slavery. On April 14 he shot President Lincoln as the president was watching a play at Ford's theatre in Washington, D.C. Lincoln died the following day. History records that John Wilkes Booth was tracked down and shot at a Maryland barn on April 26, 1865. Not withstanding such recorded history, many books have been written suggesting that the individual shot on April 26 was not in fact Booth, and that Booth escaped and lived until 1903 under various names, including John St. Helen, when he committed suicide after confessing to a friend that he was in fact John Wilkes Booth.
The listed tintype is a 1/16th plate size, measuring 1 3/4" by 1 1/4". It is housed in a Union or thermoplastic case that is decorated with flowers and leaves. The case when closed measures 2" by 1 3/4". There is an embossed red velvet pad and the photo has a matting with an identified photo studio, Quinby at 385 Broadway in New York City. Charles J. Quinby was a famous daguerreian photographer who ran a photographic studio at 385 Broadway during the late 1850's, with some indication that the studio still persisted after that date.
I have included in my listing, several known pictures of John Wilkes Booth for your comparison. The preserver around the outside of the tintype is split and held together by the case. Other than that, both the tintype and 1/16 plate case are in good antique condition.
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