SALMON P. CHASE! Let me begin by saying that I wrote the caption for the woman?s daguerreotype BEFORE my recent discovery! Sometimes even a blind squirrel can find a golden acorn. I located this stunning sixth plate in a box of dags that all needed restoration help. I had a client here and don?t know why, but he said what a prominent gent, and I said, ?Indeed, and without a conscious effort I commented, ?He looks like Salmon P. Chase!? We brought the dag downstairs, Googled SPC and voila! When I showed Casey he said, ?It?s a no brainer?. I have asked the opinion of two other very seasoned veterans of daguerreotype collecting. They both responded in the positive. And the story gets better. Carol and I were driving up rural Rte. 12A heading for Augustus Saint-Gaudens? home in Cornish NH along the Connecticut River two weeks ago. Off to our right, I saw a historic marker on the side of the road that began, ?The Home of SPC in Cornish?. Not that I believe in UFOs (too much) or miracles (too often) but this was beginning to get weird because Casey gave me his dag a week earlier that he has had for ever. Here is that information:
SHE DIED . . . READ THE INSCRIPTIONS! Mary Towler was fortunate enough to attend the second inauguration of Ohio Governor Salmon Portland Chase, when he was elected in 1857 as a Republican. He served his first two-year term beginning in 1855 as a member of the Free Soil Democratic Party. Chase had previously served as a US senator from Ohio 1849-1855. Attentive Mary was daguerreotyped on a ninth plate oval and placed in a red velvet case opposite a plain white silk pad. Her portrait is still tightly sealed with the original tape. There is a dimple in the surface above her right shoulder and that mark on the right was a bubble in the glass. A snowstorm of white specks is all on the underside of the clear cover glass. Patina flows around Mary.
Mr. Chase was a mover and shaker in Ohio politics, a two-time governor. He served in President Lincoln?s War cabinet as secretary of the treasury and was responsible for creating new paper currency. Searching for a ?familiar face? on the one-dollar bill, he selected HIS. In 1864 Chase was appointed Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Yes, he was rather ambitious! In 1928 during an overhaul of US currency, Chase?s face appeared once again, on the $10,000 bill. Sorry even if you acquire the pair offered here, one of THOSE bills is NOT included. And, Chase National Bank was another later honorarium after his death in 1873. Chase was born in Cornish in 1808 and would have been either 46 or 47 when he visited the studio of Lorenzo Chase, who worked at 173 Washington St. Boston in 1854 and 1855. L. Chase, who hailed from Kensington NH, next door to Exeter, was still at the pinnacle of his daguerreian skill set when he daguerreotyped the ?other? Chase. He moved the camera in close to his prominent subject. He instructed him to concentrate on a place past the camera and remain motionless for a brief three to five second exposure. Superb lighting illuminated the man and rendered his strong features three-dimensional. Absolutely amazing focus and shallow depth of field relayed the strength of Chase to anyone who might have opened his simple complete leather case with an old hinge repair. Inside there was a green velvet pad. The silver was re-cleaned in an attempt to undo a horrible disservice done to the surface previously. The brown stain would not disappear. New glass and an archival seal compliment the remarkable holographic gem. There is a teeny mold mite on the great gent?s nose.