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He was a man of means, it seems. At least it’s appears that way: After all, he apparently hired someone to paint his portrait.

He has a seriously bushy beard, an emerging forehead and nary a hint of a twinkle in his eye.

Everything else about this man is a mystery. But a San Diegan named Jack Knowles wants to know more, and he’s turned to us — and you — to help.

Knowles bought this painting about six years ago at an estate sale in an old home overlooking the waterfront in the Bankers Hill neighborhood. “The person doing the estate sale didn’t have any info on the portrait other than saying it was someone believed to be an early settler in the area,” Knowles said in an email.

The portrait, 16 inches by 20 inches, includes the painter’s signature in an unusual location: the upper left corner. It’s hard to make out the painter’s name, but it appears to include the letters “feldt” at the end.

And there’s a date: 1903, maybe, or 1909. Or, 1907? If he did settle San Diego, he’d been around for a while.

It’s possible, of course, that the man has nothing to do with our fair city. But we’re hoping he does, and we’re hoping you can help us give him a name.

Drop me a line if you have any ideas about his identity. If no one has the answer, I’ll turn to you all for some suggestions about what kind of detective work I can do to match his face with a name.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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