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Rare Daguerreotype discovered of young Abraham Lincoln

Could this be a new discovery of an original Daguerreotype of the young Abraham Lincoln?


A newly discovered Daguerreotype was found by Justin Whiting of, Norwich Norfolk United Kingdom, could be a new photographic piece in Abraham Lincoln’s historic life story.


Purchased on Ebay from a power seller of Daguerreotypes Justin was sure it reminded him of someone. He’d been searching for an image like this for sometime. In his mind it could be no one else other than a young Abraham Lincoln!


Was it? Could it be? At a casual glance there is a good resemblance.

Newly dicovered Daguerreotype of young Abraham Lincoln. Shown to scale.

Daguerreotype of young Abraham Lincoln. Shown to scale.


He set about the process verifying the image by asking American museums if they were willing to help identify the man in the image.

Abraham Lincoln new discovery of a Daguerreotype

Abraham Lincoln in his late 30’s (left). Could this be a new discovery of an original Daguerreotype of the young Abraham Lincoln?


Images get flipped and faces point in different directions and then get flipped. Why? Because sometimes you see the mirror image of Abe as he was captured on the Daguerreotypes and sometimes these images have been flipped to show the image as it would be if you were looking straight at him. In this case its possible that the mole is on the right side of the left face.

The Find: Justin has always had a great interest in finding photographs of famous historic figures from America.  He was taking his daily browse through “carte de visite” or visiting cards on eBay but got distracted by some daguerreotypes. He saw an interesting picture titled “1/6 daguerreotype tinted blue 1840’s”. Justin purchased the item from the e-seller ‘salvatorparadise’,  on 29/06/2011 for about $140.


The Daguerreotype  showed an extremely tall man in a fine suit. He did a some research and found matching physical details to Abraham Lincoln, like the height and body build, the way his eyes sat differently.  In the reference photographs Justin noticed Abraham Lincoln has some defining features like the large bump on his right cheek, his left eye socket was higher than the right. These all matched, even his nose and lips. Abraham Lincoln had a thin top lip and a fat bottom lip, the same seemed to be the case in the Daguerreotype.


From left Sketch, Newly discovered Abraham Lincoln Daguerreotype, Oil Painting, facial cast


He went on to discover other matching features such as Lincolns very different ears, the left side was slightly higher then the right. He also had other features such as his jaw buckled in, on the low right side and his right eye drifted towards his nose, the condition was called ‘strabismus’. It was these matching features that made him believe he was looking at a Young Abraham Lincoln. The final clue was the suit he was wearing, which was completely in  keeping with Lincolns occupation as a Lawyer..


The stormy faced scholar. At the same time there was an auction going for another daguerreotype by the same seller which he missed but managed to contact the buyer. This second image appears to be a younger Reverend Owen Lovejoy 1840. “’stormy faced scholar”. He contacted the buyer who was a bit reluctant to sell it as it had been cleaned at a considerable cost. After haggling on the phone Justin managed to obtain the photograph as well. He already knew Owen Lovejoy was a dear friend to Lincoln and that he used to read the bible to Lincoln regularly at his home. The photograph was not in the best of shape even after it was cleaned as the seals are missing. This meant it had oxidised and darkened slowly over time. The facial features are still visible as is the hairline which seems to be a very accurate match to Reverend Owen Lovejoy. The open book in the photo which symbolises the bible as it an open book. Justin believes he is making a statement that this is his passion, he is a reverend and a preacher of the bible.

Reverend Owen Lovejoy

Reverend Owen Lovejoy


American’s uninterested. After buying both daguerreotypes Justin contacted some museums in America to present his findings. He was excepting some very positive responses. Instead he was shunned by one museum saying it was not Lincoln and looked nothing like him. They offered no further explanation other than “his hair looks ridiculous”.  He soon realised It was not going to be easy, the American museums was very dismissive. with attitude of,  here we go another picture claiming to be Lincoln, “we get loads” they said.


Undeterred Justin decided to hunt for someone who can offer a more scientific investigation to match the facial features. The scientific road now appears to be the only answer. He has started proceedings with the facial recognition process. He asked me to help put this blog together to the message out there if anyone can help.


A personal opinionWhy i featured this on my blog?
I feel this is him based on what i can see and line up in my software. The most interesting for me is the ear print match. Ears are unique or so The National Training Centre for Scientific Support to Crime Investigation NTCSSCI says “no two ears are exactly the same”. The ear print for me is the clincher.


Sources Ear prints  –

14 Responses to “Rare Daguerreotype discovered of young Abraham Lincoln”

  • Jessica:

    I don’t think this looks like him at all. Disappointed about that. It would have been cool, but it’s not him.

  • New data arriving here soon, the owner of the photos has more information and data backing up these photos. I hope to post and update as soon as i get the details… stay tuned!

  • Tal Hazelden:

    Interesting that one on Owen Lovejoy. He and his siblings were my 2nd cousins 5x removed. You might want to look at photos of Owen family members to help make a decision. If it is a young Owen Lovejoy of Albion, Maine, then that is quite a find!

  • I am still waiting for the update from the owner of the photo as to where we stand with the identification. In my opinion this image is of a younger man featured before even any “recorded” images were taken, or at least all the ones that have been thrust in our faces and shown him how society wants us to see him, In all the “recorded” images of Lincoln, he is seen as very guant, here he is perhaps more youthful, less weathered and more “cocky” and not yet a refined gentleman he was to become. IMHO

  • James:

    Lincoln would have been about 49 years old in this picture if its helpful. It was taken in 1858. This site has a couple others as well to compare with – also with different stages of beard growth which might tell something. I think daugerretype came to the states in the 1840’s. The image featured here… doesn’t seem like Lincoln to me. A hard-working poor farmer turned lawyer… seems he would have done his hair before having his picture taken. Also, Lincoln seems to have preferred the clean-shaven look before Grace got to him.

  • Yes Megan. Further down the comments i have mentioned that this is exactly what is happening now :)

  • Megan Smolenyak:

    If he feels strongly about this, he needs to hire a forensic artist (as I did with the Annie Moore of Ellis Island photo) to conduct a thorough and objective analysis. Should also have hands compared, as they can be telling.

  • Tricky to accept i know but ear prints dont lie. His ear right ear shadow seems to match perfectly. If i didnt id be dubious. Ive yet to see another ear match in other examples…

  • I do not know, but nothing in the left image seems quite to fit, and overall it just does not match. Don’t think it’s Lincoln, but an altogether weaker character!

  • As we speak this is being forensically identified. Moles do not appear untill later life 40’s onwards I can vouch for this. Things start appearing where there werent any before. Or small bumps turn into larger ones. Should this be identified as him I will of course post the results here!

  • Plucking can change eyebrow lines and plucked hairs don’t grow back, also ageing presumably changes eyebrows but I don’t think these photos show the same man’s eyebrows.

    Due to their restricted use and expense, daguerrotypes show mainly white Anglo-Saxon men and women of the middle and upper classes. There is a broad generic similarity due to the racial profile of sitters and prevailing fashions.

    Lookalikes are a popular subject in the media and sometimes resemblances can be extraordinary. There used to be a seller at a local car boot sale I visited who was a ringer for Princess Diana; only the setting was unconvincing.

  • Harry:

    Except for the eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, chin, and jaw, the faces are identical.

  • Matthew:

    He has about as much of a resembalance to Lincoln as he does Micky Mouse.

  • casey waters:

    yo are crazy, where is lincoln’s mole?

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