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About Miniature Portraits

Imagine a time when sending a selfie to your sweetie was not as simple as holding your phone up to your face and pressing, "send." Back in the days before the profusion of digital camera technology, or indeed any camera technology at all, miniature portraits were a way of toting around a portable image of one's sweetheart. Prior to the advent of the camera, the hand-painted miniature portrait was a popular item amongst all but the poorest folks, mostly in Europe and, later, in America as well. There is a vast inventory of antique miniature portraits on eBay, allowing you to get a taste of the past on a small scale. As the name indicates, miniatures are small, typically just a few inches tall, often framed with some sort of strap or loop that might allow the picture to attach to a string or chain. These portraits primarily come from the 18th and 19th centuries, making them highly collectible. Both men and women may appear, and though this was primarily a European practice, some Asian miniatures are available as well.