Auction Report: President Garfield Ambrotypes & Daguerreotypes Top Sale
Four of the nine ambrotype and daguerreotype images pertaining to James A. Garfield that brought $21,470, highlighting the three-day Philip Weiss Auctions event on July 31-Aug. 2, 2009.
OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – An historic archive comprising nine ambrotype and daguerreotype images of James A. Garfield—taken in the 1850s and the first known images of the slain president—sold for $21,470 at a massive weekend sale in which some 1,200 lots in a broad array of categories changed hands, with military items doing especially well.
The Garfield archive included a ¼-plate 1855 daguerreotype of the president and his family, identified in his own handwriting; a ¼-plate daguerreotype of the Rudolphs (the parents of Garfield’s wife); a ¼-plate daguerreotype of Garfield’s sister and two other people; and a 1/9-plate daguerreotype of Garfield at about age 26. In Garfield’s diary (written in Latin!), he references two sittings from 1852.
“Overall, we were pleased with the results of the sale,” said Philip Weiss of Philip Weiss Auctions, which facilitated the July 31-Aug. 2 sale. “Most of the lots did as expected or better. As for attendance, we probably had around 1,000 bidders combined over the course of the three days, in-house and on the Internet.” Online bidding was facilitated by Proxibid. “Day three, when the military items came up for bid, provided the real oomph for the sale.”
The July 31 session was dedicated to toy trains—around 450 lots, while the Aug. 1 session was packed with transportation items, advertising memorabilia, items from the estate of Ken Schultz (ocean liner, World’s Fair and Hollywood collectibles), china, silver, railroadiana, automotive material and other items. Aug. 2 featured mainly military and historical items, plus some Hollywood memorabilia.
Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium):
Original song sheet penned in ink during the Civil War by Capt. Isaac Hart, for Libby Prison, brought $5,085.
• An original song sheet penned in ink during the Civil War by Capt. Isaac Hart and written expressly for the Richmond Prison Association and Libby Prison, rose to $5,085. The unusual item had the official seal of the association (and the slogan “Bite and be damned”) on the reverse. Also, one lot of two military bayonets with scabbards, one marked “U.S. 1900” (the year of manufacture), hit $2,090.
• A Confederate officer’s cavalry saber made by Thomas Griswold & Company (New Orleans) hammered for $4,290. The end of the blade was marked with the name of the manufacturer, which was formed around 1845 by Henry Thomas and Arthur Breese Griswold. The company made swords for Confederate troops during the Civil War. This example had the original grip and a nice 35-inch blade.
• Most everyone is familiar with the iconic “I Want You for U.S. Army” recruiting poster, but not so known is the fact that the poster was first introduced during World War I. This auction featured one of those very posters, from 1917, and it sold for $2,935. The artist was James Montgomery Flagg. The poster—about 30 inches by 40 inches—had some light edge and corner wear, plus light foxing marks.
Material from U.S. Navy shipman Richard Lisle, who fought in the Spanish-American War aboard the U.S.S. Olympia (Admiral Dewey’s flagship) sold for $2,599.
• An archive of material pertaining to U.S. Navy shipman Richard Lisle, who achieved the rank of Apprentice First Class and who served aboard the U.S.S. Olympia (Admiral Dewey’s flagship) during the Spanish-American War, climbed to $2,599. The archive included some emblems, as well as a medal presented to shipman Lisle by Admiral Dewey for his participation in the battle of Manila, in 1898.
• A 19th-century U.S. percussion musket with the original ramrod made a bull’s eye for $1,355. The bolster was marked “HP,” the lock was marked “1830, Springfield, Eagle, U.S.” and the barrel was marked “1863” at the tang, indicating the musket had been modified piecemeal over time. The weapon also carried the U.S. Inspector’s mark of “S” on the lock sideplate and a “DB” mark on the trigger plate.
For more information about this sale or upcoming events to be hosted by Philip Weiss Auctions, call (516) 594-0731 or e-mail them at phil@prwauctions.
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