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Fine Early War 1/6th Plate Ruby Ambrotype of a Young Man Armed with an Allen & Wheelock Sidehammer Revolver

Fine Early War 1/6th Plate Ruby Ambrotype of a Young Man Armed with an Allen & Wheelock Sidehammer Revolver

  • Product Code: IP-1044
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $2,250.00

This wonderful 1/6th plate Ruby Ambrotype provides a very clear seated image of a young man who is likely an early Civil War enlistee, almost certainly in the Western Theater based upon his dress. The man wears a black civilian slouch hat, a polka-dot pattern overshirt over a white collared shirt, and mule ear pocket trousers of heavy wool that may or may not be of a military pattern. His waist belt shows a clearly reflective finish, typical of enameled cloth or leather, and has a US Pattern 1851 waist belt plate with a spread-winged eagle over a wreath. The wreath is not obviously reflective and blends with the balance of the plate, suggesting it is not an applied silvered wreath and so may be an officer’s pattern plate, rather than an enlisted or NCO plate. The young man has a long-barreled Allen & Wheelock Sidehammer revolver grasped in one hand and his other hand is clenched in a fist, possibly making a statement about the current situation in the now dissolved United States. Although difficult to see, it appears that a flap holster is attached to his belt at the lower right side of the image. I have provided blown up and slightly enhanced close-up images of the man’s face, revolver, belt plate, left side mule ear pocket and the apparent holster on the right side, to better show details. It is unclear if this is a civilian image, an early Western Theater Federal image of a man who has not been issued a uniform coat or blouse, or most likely, a young Wester Theater Confederate man. Many southern soldiers in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters made use of “overshirts” and “battle shirts” of civilian or pseudo-military style as uniform coats were largely unavailable during the early months of the war. The fact that the image is on ruby glass suggests that it is early and that there is a real likely hood it is a southern image.


The plate of the image measures nominally 3.11” in height by 2.71” in width and is contained in a lovely embossed thermoplastic Union Case. The interior of the case has a label inside the rear half indicating that it is a GENUINE UNION CASE and noting that it is covered by both S. Peck’s 3 October 1854 patent as well as H. Halverson’s 7 August 1855 patent, which had been assigned to Peck. The case is decorated with raised embossed floral, shell and beaded motifs on the front and rear and has a rich purple pillow in the lid with embossed floral patterns. The exterior of the case measures 3.86” in height and 3.48” in width.


The image is very clear and crisp with some moderate haloing and emulsion loss around the periphery of the image and no significant loss in the image field, although there is some very minute freckling on the young man’s cheeks. The image is protected with a small fiber spacer that separates it from the foil matte and the protective glass cover. The image is in truly wonderful condition. The case shows some minor chipping and loss on one lower edge, at a corner, and at the latch along one side. A tiny crack is present there as well and there is a crack at the lower hinge in the lid leaving that lid and hinge slightly loose. This area of cracked thermoplastic should be carefully repaired to stabilize the case.


Overall, this is a really fine and crisp early war Ruby Ambrotype of a Young Man with an Allen & Wheelock Sidehammer Revolver. The contest is wonderful and Allen & Wheelock revolvers rarely appear in images. Fine Ruby Ambrotypes are always desirable for collectors of period images and this man is wonderful enigma is that he can be whatever you want him to be, a Civilian, and Early War Western Federal Enlistee or an Early War Western Confederate Soldier. His look and appearance with the revolver, clenched fist and determined expression bring the boarder wars of Missouri and Kansas to mind and he looks like he could have been ordered from central casting to be a boarder ruffian in Ride with the Devil. This is a great image that is very clear, has great content, displays well and will be a find addition to your collection of armed Civil War era images.

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Tags: Fine, Early, War, 1/6th, Plate, Ruby, Ambrotype, of, a, Young, Man, Armed, with, an, Allen, &, Wheelock, Sidehammer, Revolver