PD196: 1839-40 Very Early (dawn of photography) and Important 6th Plt (Paper Mat) – A possible work by Robert Cornelius (same lens, angle & distance to sitter) – very similar in composition & chemistry to plate 11 in the book Robert Cornelius By the National Portrait Gallery (page 67). One of the very earliest existent US dags with what looks like singular sensitisation. Plate characteristics: Heavy hand cut plate, no hallmarks, flat edges, 4 sharp corners, horizontal and circular buffing (very early buffing technique initially recommended by Daguerre and quickly dropped), early lacquer covering the plate and seeping into the heaviest groves. The back of the plate still retains part of the original sealing paper. Plate characteristics infer date unlikely to be later than May 1840. It is framed by an early rectangular paper mat and sits in a very early flip top case with intersecting lines to the front cover. Superb and unspoiled condition for such an early dag. Being one of the first few hundred photographs of a human face makes this image a true museum piece. Early dags are rare and paper mat examples dating from 1841-43 come up at auction once every year or so but I have only seen a couple true 1839/40 dags come up in 20 years of collecting early images. Archivally resealed with P90 tape.