Previously in our non-camera vintage finds, we’ve seen a number of interesting and historic prints come up, including a vintage Ansel Adams print, signed Henri Cartier-Bresson prints, and a rare Andy Warhol Polaroid self-portrait. Today, we’re adding another intriguing item to our list; a vintage tintype of American poet, editor, and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe. If that’s something you’d like to add to your collection of vintage curiosities, it’s going to cost you $150,000.
According to the listing by California-based eBay seller knifebiz, this “newly discovered” tintype image of Edgar Allan Poe measures 1 3/4″ x 2 1/16″ and taken from an unknown daguerreotype. This is an important detail, as the daguerreotype process was invented in 1839 — during Poe’s lifetime — while the tintype process was first described in 1853 — four years after the poet passed away. Most of the known images of the poet were also daguerreotypes (like the 1848 “Ultima Thule” daguerreotype of Poe), so it could actually be an original daguerreotype instead of a tintype.
As seen in the photos included in the listing, the image shows signs of age and wear, including smudge marks, scuff marks, scratches, rust, cracks, and a diagonal crease across the subject’s chest area. Some of the photos show that the actual image is hardly visible unless photographed with flash or illuminated by bright light.
Now, the most important question; despite the resemblance, is the person in the tintype really Edgar Allan Poe? A leading forensic examiner that specializes in facial recognition and photograph authentication says so. A copy of the declaration of authenticity was also attached in the listing, which provides some detailed information about the methods used to verify the identity of the subject in the tintype image. It also states that Ted Cheldin (most likely the seller), purchased the tintype from an antique dealer in New Jersey in 2017.
We’re sure some of you are at least curious to find out more, so go ahead and check out the ebay listing for more details.