Graphic Backsides

by Dick Sheaff

One of my favorite collections is and has always been photographer backmark imprints and labels on cartes de visite and tintypes. My current 2,000-3,000 examples have been accumulated one-by-one over decades in all the usual sorts of places . . . antique shows, antique malls, flea markets, paper shows, photography shows, eBay, Etsy, swaps with other collectors, etc. (Some of them can be seen on my old website here and here.)

Like most American collectors of ephemera of any sort, I tend to strongly prefer American ephemera. We are a provincial lot! But along the way I could not help but notice that there are also many great CDV imprints from other nations. The history of photography began in Europe after all, and its subsequent trends happened across the globe, not just in the USA. So, after a few years of ignoring foreign examples I began to acquire some of them as I went along. Below are a few examples..