Immensely rare 3.75 x 5.25 mounted albumen photograph of Abraham Lincoln sharing a book with his 10-year-old son Tad, affixed to its original 7 3/8 x 10 mount, signed on the mount in black ink, “A. Lincoln.” Reverse of the mount bears a collector’s ink notation, “This autograph is genuine—It was procured by me at the White House in June 1864. F. W. Pitcher.” Matted and framed with 4.75 x 7.25 of the front visible, the presentation includes a viewing window on the reverse showing a larger portion of the full mount. In very good to fine condition, with a small bit of missing emulsion below the image, toning along the edges from prior display, and a torn area to the right blank area which has been repaired on the reverse; conservators have noted that the tear could be expertly restored.
On February 9, 1864, portrait painter Francis B. Carpenter arranged for President Lincoln to sit for a series of photographs at Matthew Brady’s Washington D.C. gallery. With the eyesight of Brady beginning to fade, the daguerreotype master tasked his superintendent, the 32-year-old German Anthony Berger, to photograph the country’s most beloved figure. Berger’s photos have since shaped the world’s perception of Lincoln and his legacy. In addition to the famed ‘penny profile’ and his ‘satisfactory likeness’ now immortalized on the five dollar note, Berger’s image of Lincoln and his fourth and youngest son, Tad, exists as perhaps the most enduring and endearing depiction of the Civil War president. Ultimately, the photograph’s lone critic was Lincoln himself, who worried that the book in the photo, a Brady Gallery album, would be misperceived as a Bible, a concern he deemed to be ‘a species of false pretense.’ This exceptionally large example, unlike the more common carte-de-visites, is one of only three known specimens of this particular size and pose. Of the other two, one is in an institution, and the other realized $325,000 when sold in 2002 as part of the Forbes Collection. Considering its atypically large size, impeccable provenance, and timeless imagery, this is simply one of the finest Lincoln signed photos in existence. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.