Lincoln, Abraham. Imperial Albumen Photograph by Mathew Brady
Lincoln’s Iconic $5 Bill Pose
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Brady, Mathew. Imperial Albumen Photograph. Washington, DC: 9 February 1864. 6.5 x 8.5 inches (sight); handsomely framed with museum specifications to 11.5 x 13.25 inches. (Ostendorf 92)
Taken by Anthony Berger in Brady’s gallery, the image became known as the “$5 Bill Portrait.”
Never a commonly found photograph in carte-de-visite size, it is almost entirely absent in this imperial size, being exceedingly difficult for the collector to purchase. Lincoln sits in the famous “Brady Chair;” which he obtained from the U.S. Congress when they replaced a number of older congressional chairs. A carte-de-visite photo album sits on a stand to his left and the ornate chair is clearly visible.
The wrinkles of his suite and his watch chain attached to his vest are evident. The focus of the image, Lincoln’s face and large right ear remain quite distinct, his eyes fixed, focused on the hard war he waging to bring the country together and emancipate the scourge of slavery from our country.
The warm chocolate nature of the albumen photograph remains. There are a few dominant wrinkles in the albumen, but do not stand out, though going through a portion of Lincoln’s lower body.
This would be the center-point of any distinguished collection of our Sixteenth President!
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