The Earliest Photograph of Ancient Coins?

A French Stereoview of the late 1850's

Following the invention of photography in 1839 there was a rush to record every aspect of life in this new medium. It would seem that something as motionless as coins would have been photographed but in my days as a photo hobbiest and coin collector this is the only photo seen with ancient coins. Actually what I see here is a bracelet made of Roman silver Antoniniani (radiate crown on the head) with each coin joined to the next by a pair of links. Do you agree that this is a correct reading of this photo? Can you identify the emperor? Postumus?

Early coin photograph

From the style of the photographs and the mount, this stereoview can be dated to the 1850's. Other photos found with this one were scenes of France so it is a fair assumption that this view is also French. The same gold border was used on views by Claude-Marie Ferrier between 1852 and 1855 but that does not mean that he shot this image. If you have seen any evidence of other very early photos containing coins or, even better, close up photos of coins; please report them to me.

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(c) 1997 - 2011 Doug Smith