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The Curious Attribution Case of a Rare Civil War Photographer Cancel

The Curious Attribution Case of a Rare Civil War Photographer Cancel

This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher. If anyone can lend any insight, I would appreciate it.

Below is one of the pages from Bruce Baryla’s award-winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit (exhibit in its entirety can be seen at web.newsguy.com/bruceb/london/exhibit01.htm ).

When Bruce broke up the exhibit in 2013, I acquired this page along with many other items from the exhibit.

Along with that CDV, he also had a second CDV showing another portion of the same cancel. Here are both CDVs.

The cancel is attributed as being from the studio of “C. Becker, Hudson, N.Y.” which is borne out by the markings on the photo side of the CDV.

Fast forward to last week. I was perusing the Bay when I saw a listing for revenues on album pages. It was a real nothingburger of a lot, considerably overpriced for what was in it… but one particular stamp on a page caught my eye:

So I placed a snipe on the lot just for one stamp and proceeded to win it. Here is a high-resolution image of the stamp in question.

It’s clearly the same camera image… but the name in the cancel appears to be “R. N. Ham”, not “C. Becker”.

Here is a composite of the 3 cancels.

My Google searching shows a third photographer “Jas. E. Canfield” at 322 Warren Street (address can be partially seen in composite image above) in Hudson, N.Y. at approximately the same time, so I’m wondering if there were several photographers that shared that same studio location. Any thoughts?


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