Gold Rush photography achieves top prices during Hindman's American Historical Ephemera & Photography Auction
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Gold Rush photography achieves top prices during Hindman's American Historical Ephemera & Photography Auction
A half plate daguerreotype of three gold miners. Price Realized: $37,800.

CINCINNATI, OH.- Last week, Hindman’s summer American Historical Ephemera & Photography auction saw passionate bidding for early photographs and material surrounding America’s westward expansion. A half plate daguerreotype of three gold miners (lot 529) realized $37,800, five times its estimate. The image of the three men epitomizes the gold rush itself, as their somewhat haggard appearance is offset by supremely resolute expressions behind their lit cigars.

Katie Horstman, Senior Specialist, American Historical Ephemera & Photography commented: “From early photography to manuscript archives, our team was excited to bring such a wide range of important historic memorabilia to auction. The strong prices achieved, particularly for historic images, demonstrate Hindman's role as a market leader in the category of early photography.”

Overall, the auction realized $913,752, and the majority of lots sold within or above the high estimates.

Westward Expansion & Early Photography Steals the Show

A quarter plate daguerreotype thought to perhaps be the earliest known photograph of Fort Mackinac, Michigan (lot 282) nearly tripled its high estimate, selling for $31,500. Mackinac Island sits at a strategic choke point on the straits separating Lakes Michigan and Huron and thus, was the location of French, British, and eventually American forts in the late 1700s and 1800s. The image offered in the auction provides a rare glimpse of the island as an active military outpost before it was declared the nation’s second National Park in 1875.

Civil War & Abraham Lincoln Photographs

A quarter plate tintype of noted Civil War & Union Pacific Railroad photographer Andrew Joseph Russell (1830-1902) (lot 83) achieved $28,350 against an estimate of $2,500 - 3,500. Russell’s evocative images of the vast military transport and logistics system of the Union Army contrasted with the battlefield views of Brady, O’Sullivan, and Gardner. They provided an unparalleled record of the Union War effort. This image, among other Russell photographs sold in this auction, was recently discovered in Illinois and purportedly descended in Russell's family.

Civil War and Abraham Lincoln related highlights also included a large format photograph of Lincoln’s second inauguration (lot 337), which sold for $18,900. A photograph of Lincoln on the Antietam battlefield in October 1862 (lot 335) realized $12,600.

Additionally, Ernest Hemingway's Rolleiflex MX camera (lot 294) soared past its $600-800 estimate to realized $10,080.

Additional Highlights Throughout the Auction Included:

• Lot 130 | Archive of a Frontier Artilleryman at the Onset of the Civil War | Price Realized: $28,350 (Estimate: $20,000 - 25,000)

• Lot 324 | “Lincoln and Hamlin” parade flag, produced for the 1860 election | Price Realized: $25,200 (Estimate: $10,000 - 15,0000)

• Lot 3 | Manuscript orderly book chronicling the daily march of Colonel Henry Bouquet's force of British, Pennsylvania and Virginia volunteers. August-November, 1764. | Price Realized: $20,160 (Estimate: $10,000 - 20,000)

• Lot 236 | Heroes of the Colored Race. Philadelphia, PA: J. Hoover, 1881. | Price Realized: $10,080 (Estimate: $5,000 - 7,000)

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