Rare photo of John Quincy Adams could sell for $50,000

This rare daguerreotype of President John Quincy Adams is expected to sell for around $50,000. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A rare and unusual photo of one of the first U.S. presidents is expected to sell for $50,000 or more when an image of President John Quincy Adams taken in 1846 crosses the block in Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 2 Americana & Political Auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

“Quincy Adams was the first American president to be photographed,” Heritage Director of Americana Auctions Tom Slater said, “and this newly discovered example is one of the earliest known presidential photographs.

The sixth-plate daguerreotype was taken at the Washington, D.C., studio of John Plumbe on Feb. 14, 1846, according to Adams’ diary entry. The location of this image was unknown until it was recently discovered in an antique market in Paris.

Plumbe was one of the most prominent photographers of the day, and apparently had complete approval from Adams, who sat for him on four different occasions.

This image is housed in a case stamped on the brass mat with Plumbe’s name and lined with paper reading “Manufactured at the Plumbe National Daguerrian Depot/New York.” The image is accompanied by a detailed letter of authentication by William F. Stapp, who served as the Curator of Photographs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery from 1976-91.