We are proud to offer: "... the third iteration of the American Chamfered box half plate camera. The first version had two fixed plate/ground glass positions that did not move. Focus was achieved through the lens only. Then the second iteration camera had an interior sliding box that allowed for greater focus adjustments. The ground glass had to be removed and an interior lock knob loosened. You could only guess the approximate focus until you replaced the ground glass and used the lens for final focus. The third iteration, of which this is, would date to very late 1840s to early 50s. The interior sliding section was fixed to the rear chamfer section and the rough focus could be achieved without removing the ground glass... just by pulling on the rear chamber, the interior box moved while observing the image on the ground glass. Good for close up and copy work. The bone knobs (deer antler) and door hinges are 100% correct. The lens is correct, but unfortunately is not ID as to the maker. Most likely an American copy of VoigtlĀŠnder's Petzval. Rosewood lightens with UV exposure over time so the darker rosewood on the underside of the doors and bottom of the camera is absolutely correct. The condition is very good, if it weren't for the expansion crack on the front, I would say excellent.

Regarding the lens: The brass work i.e. design of the focus knob, knurling and tubes is an exact match to a very early CC Harrison, New York tangental drive quarter plate lens that I have in my collection... though on the camera is the half-plate version without Harrison's ID. So that's a bit of a mystery. Likely made by Harrison for Anthony. As for the date. It could be as late as 1854, where this camera was still advertised as Anthony's Improved Rosewood and Cedar Daguerreotype Camera Box.

The plate holder is 1850's home made. Not original from Anthony. Based on the rot and silver stains, I bet it was made so the camera could be used for tintypes after the daguerreotype fell out of practice. Possibly glass wet plates but it looks too thin for that.

This exact camera is illustrated on page 44 of the book Anthony - the Man, the Company, and the Cameras by Bill and Estelle Marder. And they were the owners of the camera when the book was published in 1982."

Source for the information above: Mike Robinson (quoted verbatim through email correspondence).

Dr. Mike Robinson is an artist-practitioner, teacher, conservator, and historian of the daguerreotype. In June 2017 he earned his PhD in Photographic History with his dissertation entitled The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype. He has researched and written on the studio practice of Southworth & Hawes for the Young America exhibition catalogue and for the Daguerreian Society Annual. Mike taught graduate and undergraduate courses in 19th Century Photographic Processes at Ryerson University in Toronto, and has lectured and taught daguerreotype workshops in Toronto; Rochester; New York City; Chicago; Lacock Abbey, United Kingdom; Bry-sur-Marne, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Kolomna, Russia.

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Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
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PLEASE NOTE: This auction is being organized and offered by The Daguerreian Society. Cowan's staff is not able to answer any condition questions and will not be providing shipping services for this auction. All questions regarding the auction should be addressed to auction@daguerreiansociety.org