Mar 31, 2016 - Sale 2408

Sale 2408 - Lot 115

Price Realized: $ 4,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION--PHOTOGRAPHY.) Carte-de-visite photograph of 'Tom,' very likely a captured runaway. Tom (in pencil on the reverse) is shown standing, with arms folded. There is some mottling to the lower third of the photograph, more visible in raking light, but otherwise a good, clear image. Np, circa early 1860's

Additional Details

There is little question that this poor soul had been beaten. The photo might possibly have been taken by his owner, or perhaps by his captor, to be sent to another person for identification. His feet are covered with dried mud; both his eyes are swollen, the left eye one almost closed; there is a bruise at the hairline above that eye; his mouth is partly open, his teeth mostly gone. Photographs like this conjure up all manner of stories and explanations. Unfortunately, we will never really know for certain who 'Tom' was or what the circumstances of this photograph might have been.