CINCINNATI – Cowan’s Auctions American History auction on Nov. 15 realized $652,000. Bidders battled competitively on the floor, phone and Internet for many of the exceptional items in the sale. LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live bidding. The 462-lot auction included scarce daguerreotypes, photographs of the American West, 19th century photography, manuscripts, books, maps, political campaign ephemera and flags.
Cowan’s offered one of the most important photographs of the 20th century in the sale. Mary Ann Moorman’s photograph of John F. Kennedy’s assassination hit the auction block on Nov. 15, but it failed to meet its reserved value.
“From the Civil War-era photographs of camp life and cased images of Union and Confederate soldier, which commanded incredibly strong prices, to the early American and political flags, Cowan’s Nov. 15th American History Auction was a great success,” notes Katie Horstman, Cowan’s director of American History.
A Lincoln & Hamlin “Wide Awake” portrait campaign flag was the auction’s frontrunner, selling for $44,650.
Other flags also brought high prices in the auction. A 13-star American flag, accompanied by the daguerreotype of the flag’s maker and related items hammered down at $11,750, a Civil War period 34-star silk flag sold for $4,993, and a 38-star gold fringe American parade flag realized $4,112.
Civil war photography had a strong performance in the auction. A scarce Gen. Robert E. Lee and staff photograph brought $9,400, a Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson large format albumen photograph by Brady sold for $7,637, a set of Civil War CDVs of CSA Col. John J. Mosby, the “Gray Ghost,” with related period newspapers sold above its estimate of $2,000-$3,000 and realized $7,050, and a collection of Civil War CDVs of the Indiana 16th Battery Light Artillery realized $3,172.
Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes did well in the Nov. 15 auction. An attributed pair of superlative 9th Indiana Cavalry half plate tintypes sold for $8,812, a half plate daguerreotype of a Parker & Elder storefront in Grass Valley, Calif., realized $7,050, and a half plate outdoor ambrotype of a gold mining scene featuring a water wheel brought $7,050.
Maps had a strong showing in the sale last Friday. A Disturnell Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Mejico dating to 1846 tripled its estimate of $6,000-$8,000 and sold for $23,500, a scarce 1863 Gettysburg Battlefield Map by T. Ditterline hammered down at $5,875, and a Nova Totius Terrarum map dated to 1630 realized $4,112.
Additional notable lots included a spectacular Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad broadside reading “500,000 Acres of the Best Prairie, Timber and Coal Lands in the West,” sold for $19,975; a book by George Wilkins Kendall, titled The War Between the United States and Mexico, sold for $8,225; and a unique group of Civil War artifacts described as a temporary burial marking for Confederate Col. Henry B. Strong of the 6th Louisiana realized $7,637.
For more information about the auction or to consign an item to an upcoming Cowan’s auction sale, call Katie Horstman at 513-871-1670 ext. 236.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE