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About CDVs

Carte de visite cards are photographs on cardboard about 2.5 by 4 inches that rose in popularity from 1859 and through the Victorian era. They were essentially the equivalent of posed snapshots that came in a uniform shape, making them easier to share with others and put into the newly introduced photo albums. The method for producing these photos was cheaper than previous styles, and they could go through the mail without having a bulky case. CDV pictures rose in popularity during the Civil War as soldiers and their families posed for shots before the young men marched off to the battlefield. Later ones were occasionally used as calling cards as well. These antique photos are now collector’s items. eBay features a number of Civil War CDV items, including ones featuring confederate soldiers and President Lincoln. Some reliable sellers also have CDV album listings and offer the antique book and photos as a whole unit. These albums come with velvet or embossed leather over a solid frame, often with a metal latch. Because of the popularity of these carte de visite items, many exist today as a small window into the past, showing both famed leaders and ordinary people. Start your CDV collection to take a look back at history. What you learn may astound you.