Caroliniana Columns
Newsletter of the University South Caroliniana Society
Autumn 1998

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Library Acquires Daguerreotype
Through Auction on the
World Wide Web

daguerreotype- 37.7 K
Quarter plate daguerreotype by David L. Glen of Charleston.
In the July issue of Ladies' Home Journal, a sidebar contained a warning about cyberfraud. Beverly Schuch of Your Money noted that the popularity of online auctions has increased with over 150 Web sites. One can find "everything from electronics to baseball cards, with sales expected to exceed $1 billion this year." However, this is definitely a buyer beware market. Sometimes the object does not exist or is not what is represented. The Federal Trade Commission recommends finding a secure site, paying by credit card, and contacting seller before bidding.

The Library recently delved into this new aspect of auctions and had a positive experience. Harvey Teal received a tip about a South Carolina photograph being offered by an online auction house. We checked out the site and found the object to be a quarter plate daguerreotype of an unidentified family by James Glen of Charleston. The online image indicated the daguerreotype was in good condition. Harvey was excited because he had been searching for an example of Glen's work for several years. Now here was possibly the only known specimen, and the Library had a chance to acquire it. We placed a bid and waited as the closing deadline slowly approached. Finally, as bidding was closed, we found ourselves the lucky owners of a Glen daguerreotype. The seller immediately contacted us to say the image was on its way. We soon received a beautiful daguerreotype of a father, mother, and young daughter in a leather covered case with "Glen, Artist, Charleston" in the inside felt.

We are learning every day about the new possibilities offered by that enigma known as the World Wide Web. We have a well-designed and innovative Web page and have tried the Web market. Who knows what will come next!

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