1880s Photo Card (CDVs) Backs

Dating CDV photographs from the designs on the back

by Roger F. Vaughan 2004

The 1880s Page Two

The first card from Bennett & Sons is dated 1887 and is a typical - Marion, Imp Paris - - - card, those dashes (and dot) vary and seem to be a date code (this code is for 1884 but used in 1887). F. Spalding is dated November 1886 and can be considered three fonts and a logo and a border, a bit basic for the later 1880s. Card three is a Marion, Imp Paris with a large P that I call 'Fly Trap' and probably 1885. The Fehrenbach also 'Fly Trap' has "Marion Imp Paris" with a - . - underneath, this I associate with 1888.

Card five Naudin is a design by Marion I call 'Parosol' and they claim copyright. This did not stop the many near copies made by other printers, made after the mid 1880s to about 1890. Walter Tully, "Marion, Imp Paris - . - (1888) uses a small parasol and fan. Frederick Argall has a design I call 'Bamboo and Square' from about 1888 - 1889. Thomas Ball has a copy of this by the printer Reeves & Hoare London and probably much the same date.

Card nine Edwin Lott is a design by Reg C E & C I call 'Flower Pot' and is about 1887. The next is a classic Marion design I call 'Seated Artist' and was widely copied. Marion sold the same design to many studios and it can be found on cards from 1888 to 1894, Reg Design 41062. The last two are of the 'Bamboo and Fan' design, the F.C. Christopher is a Marion card, and the last one is by Spicer Bros, London. This is an 1884 design but mostly used about 1888, and the last one I have seen dates from 1892. It does show how far the basic elements were being copied and I have a number that are interesting variations on this theme.

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R.F.Vaughan 2004