Dating CDV photographs from the designs on the back
by Roger F. Vaughan 2003
The 1880s Page One
By the 1880s the remains of the 1860s logo designs have now gone, the card is designed for its own sake. The first card dated 1880 is a late 1870s early 1880s design with its ribbons, royal crests and three main fonts but still being used in 1885 (see card nine). The Whitlock and the Byrne cards are classic Marion Imp Paris cards from the early 1880s, notice the letters surrounded by scrolls. The fourth card dated December 1883 is a type I call 'Early Large Letter' combined with the name on a slope, and lots of background scrolls, and three main fonts, is typical of many of the late 1870s and early 1880s cards.
Cards 5 to 7 are examples of 'Large Letter' designs produced (1876 to about 1889, but mostly used in the early 1880s) by (5) Marion,Imp Paris, (6) England Bros London, (7) Trapp & Munch, Berlin. The orange card made by George Mason & Co. is dated December 1884 and has medals from 1884, it follows no trend and looks more like an 1890s back - so be warned! However all those medals should be a clue to its earlier date.
Card nine dated March 1885, is an identical back to 'Card One' of 1880 showing that these styles can be long lived. Martin & Sallnow started in 1885 and recorded 3631 customers, making this a classic design of about 1887, printed by W. Herrmann & Co. Berlin who were working c.1884-1892. The Brown Barnes and Bell dates to about 1884 and is not a design used by others. Edmund Wheeler kept this design along time, but he put an annual date code on each: E - 1877 to W - 1895, making this one N - 1886. Note the gummed strip where a protective tissue was stuck.
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