Anyway, when I checked eBay's list of Carole Lombard memorabilia last night, I came across an entry listing "Vintage young Carole Lombard Photo Oversize London." For the record, here's what it looks like:
It's oversize (15 1/4" x 12", no border), and has a London agency stamp. And while the picture is attractive, and seductive, was it Lombard? There was something about the face that didn't look quite right. So I examined the lower right-hand corner, and found this:
It showed a code number of P1167, whereas Carole's code number at Paramount was P1202. I then recalled an entry I had written on Sept. 25, 2007 about Lombard's Paramount code number (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/36033.html), and a glance at the entry revealed that P1167 belonged to...Marlene Dietrich. (This must have been among the first batch of photos she made for Paramount after arriving in Hollywood; whether they were done prior to or during her first film there, "Morocco," I have no idea.)
In the early 1930s, Dietrich often complained that Lombard borrowed her styles, although Carole invariably expressed herself in a uniquely American manner while Dietrich was distinctly European. It would be easy to see how one might be mistaken for the other. While they weren't the closest of pals, they got along reasonably well. Here they are together during Carole's famous 1935 party at a Venice amusement park:
But getting back to the picture -- if you're a Dietrich fan and want it, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260386304474&indexURL=2&photoDisplayType=2#ebayphotohosting. The minimum bid is $14.95, and bidding closes at 8:07 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday.
Update: I pointed out the error to the seller and got this note back this morning: "Hello and Thank You for sharing your expertise, We carefully compared the other photos we have and you are right, we have made revisions." The eBay item number remains the same (260386304474), but it's now listed as "Vintage early Young Marlene Dietrich Photo Oversize N/R."