Carte de Visite (CDV): Pricing

Figure 1.-- This studio in Philadelphia offered 6 CDVs for a dollar. This is a very early American CDV, we believe taken in the early 1860s. Notice the negative numbr used to facilitate reorders. Click on the image to see the actual portrait.

One of the advantages of the CDV was tht it was inexpensive. The low cost was a real attraction. The CDVs were reasonably priced, much less expensive than a Daguerotype. We note one early American studio offering six CDV prints for a dollar. Thre were variatioins from studio to studio, but this seems a rought estimate of the cost in America. We are not sure about other countries. Another advantage of the CDV was that a photographer could print multiple images which could be inexensively printed. And many customers did want copies. Once cabinent cards with larger images were developed, many photographers continued offering CDVs. Presumably the smaller CDVs were less expensive as they requited less photographic paper and chemicals. but we have few details on the price differeence. We suspect tht the main reasin was hat the CDV portait was so popular. We note that some clients ordered both CDVs and cabinent cards of the same image. This is so they could be sent to friends and neighbors. One HBC reader writes, "Maybe people would have cabinet cards for their own albums and distribute CDVs to relatives and friends." Perhaps the family album sometimes purchased years eralier dictated the choice. We believe that were factors other than price that dictated the price. We know of wealthy families that had albums of CDV portraits. A good example here is the English Capper family album.


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Created: 2:34 AM 2/5/2009
Last updated: 2:34 AM 2/5/2009