Daguerreotype of photographer earns $17,550

BEVERLY, Mass. – A two-evening photography sale ended with more than 200 daguerreotypes from a single 30-year collection from Rochester, N.Y., crossing the block Oct. 3-4 in a sale hosted by Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Mass.

Daguerreotype, 1/4 plate, occupational of a young photographer sitting beside his camera, full leather case, 4 1/2″h x 3/5″w. Resealed. $17,550, including buyer’s premium. Photo courtesy Kaminski Auctions.


This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine

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The evening got off to an encouraging start as a 1/4 plate, occupational daguerreotype, with full leather case of a young photographer sitting beside his camera sold for $17,550, against an estimate of $5000-$7000. The daguerreotype was the cover lot of the sale catalog, and had multiple collectable themes things going for it. It was a great image, an occupational, and a self-portrait, in addition to being an exceedingly handsome young photographer shown with his camera.

The second top lot of the sale was surprisingly, a 1/4 plate daguerreotype, an image of an outdoor scene, an old mill possibly located in Herkimer, NY, contained in a fancy thermoplastic wall frame which sold for $9360 against an estimate of $1000-$1500.

“Finding a dag of a photographer is extremely rare. The condition was also very good too. Any serious dag collector would want it in their collection. Outdoor scenes are also rare, especially identified places. Again this photo had everything going for it, size, condition, location, and subject matter,” said Dan Silverman, Kaminski Auctions Photography Specialist.

History of the Indian Tribes of North America, Thomas L. McKenney, vol. I-III, 1868, Estates and Lauriat Publishers, Boston, 10 3/4″h x 7 1/2″w x 2″d. $3,000 (exclusive of buyer’s premium).

With a new Steven Spielberg movie on the horizon, and the huge popularity of the PBS documentary The Civil War by Ken Burns, Abraham Lincoln is hot right now. A very rare outdoor view of President Abraham Lincoln, before the State House, at the Flag Raising, dated February 22, 1861, identified as 1029 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia by T. S. Hacker sold for $6250 while a second image, a rare period copy 1/4 plate daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln “beardless” sold for $1755.

Important Civil War chess board featuring identified portraits of Civil War personalities, generals, presidents, politicians, writers, and poets, to include: Zac Taylor, Millard Fillmore, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, beardless Abraham Lincoln. $1,400 (including buyer’s premium).

Also Civil War related, an important chessboard featuring identified portraits of Civil War personalities including generals, presidents, politicians, writers, and poets and showing Zac Taylor, Millard Fillmore, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and a beardless Abraham Lincoln, sold for $1400.

A rare copy plate daguerreotype of Henry Clay, sixth plate, the original image taken on March 7, 1848 by Marcus Aurelius Root, and declared to be “Decidedly the best and most satisfactory portrait ever taken of him” by Clay himself, sold for $3650.

An unusual French pocket watch of 18-karat yellow gold, with a miniature in ivory on reverse, black and white enamel front case and a daguerreotype of a gentleman inside sold for $4800. The pocket watch had a 14-karat yellow gold chain and a beveled glass watch case.

Several Andre Kertesz (Hungarian 1894-1985) photographs topped the modern photography in the sale. With lively Internet bidding and many phone lines the Hungarian born artists, Melancholic Tulips, gelatin silver print, 1939 printed later and signed on the back sold for $4900. Another Kertesz, The Balcony Martinique”, gelatin silver print, 1939 printed later, and signed on the back, sold for $4680.

A determined phone bidder bought all of the Herman Leonard (American 1923-2010) photographs, including one of Charlie “Bird” Parker, signed lower right, which sold for $1290 while a Herman Leonard of Duke Ellington, signed, Paris 1958, sold for $940.

Andre Kertesz (Hungarian 1894 – 1985) , “Pipes and Glasses 1926″, gelatin silver print, printed later, signed on back, 10″h x 8″w (image), 14 1/2″h x 13 1/2″w (frame). $2100 (exclusive of buyer’s premium).

The second evening of the sale saw an Andre Kertesz lot, again leading the sales. His photograph titled “Pipes and Glasses 1926,” gelatin silver print, printed later, and signed on the back, sold for $2520, while the highest priced lot was a History of the Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. McKenney which sold for $3600.

Two similar Edwin Townsend (American born 1879) photographs, sold for $1200 each. The first a nude physique portrait of four men playing tug-of-war with their backs to the camera, vintage silver print photograph, circa 1930′s, and the second, a similar partially nude physique portrait of four men playing tug-of-war.

A large lot of photographs by Berenice Abbott (American 1898-1991), titled New York City Views, vintage gelatin silver prints sold for $1440 while a lot totaling 44 autographed photos, from the collection of George C. Coleman of Beverly, Mass., including: John Wayne, Gale Sayers, Rudy Vallee, Rocky Manciano, and Buster Crabbe, sold for $1440 as well.

Silverman said of the sale, “I thought the auction went well with some surprises and there appeared to be interest at all collecting levels. People were very selective especially with condition.”

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