This is a circa 1880s-1890s cabinet photo of a man all duded up in his IOOF Patriarch's Militant Parade Uniform.
When we first saw this photo we thought it was Knights Templar - a year earlier we had come across several parts of an actual Knights Templar uniform from the 1930s, and this looked very similar. Another eBay user corrected us though, and was very specific on how this uniform was different than the Knight's Templar. We did some further research and learned what a Patriarch Militant was, and some of the ranks and such.
This brings up something I learned very early on in my "selling" career. People who buy collectibles frequently know a lot more about the item than the seller does.
Over the years we've learned a little about a lot of stuff. We've concentrated on postcards & photos, and over time have educated ourselves in the different types, printing technologies & eras. We've learned a lot about the physical properties and types of photographs. We've gotten so we can distinguish 1860s fashion and hair styles from 1880s fashion and hair styles, but there are many people around who are much more knowledgeable about this than we are. Sometimes they let us know.
This is a neat, neat photo from the late 19th century.
Update: Sold! (finally)