However, in this tintype image, the sitter appears simply to be just showing off.
The quarter plate-sized photograph shows a muscular Union soldier, arms folded nonchalantly across his chest, standing as nature intended in front of a roughly painted camp scene backdrop. It was probably taken by a travelling photographer working in the field c.1863.
The subject matter is possibly unique. Some 98 potential bidders were ‘watching’ the plate on online bidding platform LiveAuctioneers when it came for sale at Fleischer’s Auctions’ Civil War & African American History sale in Columbus, Ohio, on August 5.
The subject of the day’s most animated bidding contest, it was estimated at $2500-5000 but sold at $49,000 (plus 23% buyer’s premium).