Very Rare Union Daguerrotype five photograph opening case.
Raised outline of Greek figures on front and back. Some damage to upper left corner of front cover and slight damage to left edge of rear cover. Does not at all detract from the beauty of the piece.
Below are the appraisers comments:
"Your photo display case is called a union case. It is made of a composition material, a mixture of shellac and sawdust. Many people confuse it with gutta percha, which is a latex-like material made from the sap of certain tropical trees. This composition material indicates that the case was made between 1854 and 1860. The metal frames are made of pinchbeck, a sort of artificial gold.
Littlefield, Parsons & Co were listed as dealers in daguerreian equipment at 30 Warren Street, New York City, N.Y. in 1859. They were listed in 1860 as daguerreian case manufacturers in Northampton, Massachusetts. By the mid 1860s, ambrotypes had replaced the popular daguerreotypes and the need for the union case was gone. In 1866, Littlefield, Parsons & Co. changed their name to the Florence Manufacturing Co. and produced a number of beautiful shellac hand mirror and brush sets.
Your union case is indeed an unusual one. I have seen them with four openings, but never with five. It is possible that this one was custom-made. It would be a desirable item to early photography collectors, especially because the image on the front is very pleasing."
Appraised Value: $2,000.
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