Dating tintypes

Tintype photographs, introduced in the 1850s, enjoyed tremendous popularity for over 50 years.

They provided a cheaper, faster alternative to daguerreotypes because the image was ready within minutes.

Common sizes include full plate, half plate, 1/6th plate and 1/9th plate.

Tiny one to two inch "Gem" portraits, popular from 1863 to 1890, greatly reduce tintype prices.

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“Daguerreotypes were taken as portraits between about 1840 and the mid-1860s,” said Taylor. Patented in 1854, they remained popular until the early 1870s.” Other photographs could be tintypes.

Real photographs show a continuous range of tones but reproductions exhibit tiny dots or lines visible to the naked eye or through a small magnifying glass.

New photographs masquerading as originals boast clarity that is too sharp and sitters that are more overweight and well-groomed.

Travelers and soldiers preferred their sturdy iron-plated images to the glass-plated ambrotypes.

Today, authentic pieces can fetch to 0 depending on the age, condition and content.

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