it’s a barnum and bailey world

Phineas and Charlie from a Smithsonian copy of a Daguerreotype photograph

Toronto. Collectors of images may find new additions for their collections at the Port Colborne auction today. The two day event (Saturday and Sunday) honours the memory of PHSC member, auction coordinator, and 1st VP, the late John Kantymir. All lots in this event are from the Kantymir collection.

My good friend, George Dunbar sent along this image of a beautiful daguerreotype of Phineas T Barnum and his protege, ‘General Tom Thumb‘ A.K.A. Charles Sherwood Stratton. At the time, daguerreotype portraits were expensive and likely personal keepsakes. NB. the history of the circus, including Barnum’s involvement, can be read at this Wikipedia Link.

Years later, people like General Tom were captured on wet or dry plates and then cabinet card size copies were cheaply made and widely distributed to advertise the person as the late Michael Mitchell explained to us back in March 1980 and later in  October 2003.

NOTE: The title of this post is a line in “It’s Only a Paper Moon” sung here by the great Nat King Cole.

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