British photographic history

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Top price for Lincoln carte de visite

Continuing with the carte de visite theme, but American, though, the highest-selling item in a recent auction of Lincoln family ephemera this month was an autographed Abraham Lincoln carte de visite which easily surpassed its US$10/20,000 estimate by selling for US$38,775.

The lot - a signed portrait of Lincoln from a negative originally taken by Mathew Brady - came from the family of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the great grandson of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and also the last male descendent of the Lincoln family.

Though Roger Fenton was the first to document war in photographs, Brady (1822-1896), who documented the American Civil War (1861-1865), was probably one of the greatest of photographic documentary photographers. His Lincoln photographs have been used for the $5 bill and the Lincoln penny.








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