img.: doubtful signature in a questioned daguerreotype.
A column by Michael Mattis appeared on the e-zine “The Eye of Photography”, to alert the community of amateurs and professionals about cases of daguerreotypes (original items from 1840-1850s) fraudulently attributed via fake signature to Gustave Le Gray, Louis-Auguste Bisson, Th. Jacobi and even by Louis Daguerre himself, which have recently appeared on the market.
“To understand the statistical improbability of such a photo market event, imagine a consignment of Old Master paintings containing both a previously unrecorded Jan Vermeer and a previously unrecorded Leonardo Da Vinci painting. This is a helpful analogy – except that signed Daguerres and signed Le Grays are actually even rarer than Vermeers and Leonardos.” explains Michael in the blog.
Auctions for these plates have been launched, but then immediately blocked as soon as doubts on authenticiy were raised, particularly by Mike Robinson and Bruno Tartarin who questioned the physical attributes of individual plates, and by long-time collector and expert dealer Frédéric Hoch. A Google doc is shared containing images of these items, and the Daguerreian Society will maintain an on-line repository of such images on its website.
Anyone having doubts on the authenticity of their holding can contact the Daguerreian Society at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the article on The Eye of Photography