Gallery operators replenished their supply of card stock about every six months and card manufacturers encouraged this demand by brining out a new line of decorative cards each year.Because of this constant change, a card mount offers the best clue to when a carte de visite image was made.High end cabinet cards depicting famous athletes regularly sell for hundreds of dollars and more.The earliest cabinet card mounts were thin, light in weight and light cream, sepia, white or off white.Photographs of Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century ladies sorted by year 1860 to 1930 4.Photographs of people arranged by year 1860 to 1915 People by Year 5.
Mounted photographs with multi color mounts and/or embossed designs, particularly an embossed faux frame and photgraphers name, date from after 1890 and usually after 1900.
Later imprints show a great variety and richness of ornamentation.
Trends in imprint styles can help approximate a date. Internal Revenue stamp can date the image to the period to (roughly the end of the American Civil War to the introduction of the cabinet card) Many other details can help to date a photograph, such as accessories, costume and fashion or landmarks.
Many photographers advertised their copying services. This carte de visite is typical of the 1860s illustrating the double gilt rules and square corners characteristic of the period. The "sepia" look of the image comes from a natural yellowing of the original yellowish-brown image tone, which is imparted through "gold-toning" and by the albumen paper.
The outline of a daguerreotype frame can be seen in some carte de visite copies.