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Civil War photo sketchbook draws $144K

Hundreds of lots of daguerreotypes, Civil War artifacts, including Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War which sold for $144,000, were among the items to change hands during Cowan's Auctions' 302-lot American History: Live Salesroom Auction.

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Cowan’s Auctions Inc.’s 302-lot American History: Live Salesroom Auction, featuring scarce daguerreotypes, photographs of the American

Alexander Gardener's sketchbook

Alexander Gardener’s Photographic Sketchbooks of the War commanded $144,000 to take top lot honors.Photo courtesy Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

West, 19th century photography, manuscripts, books, maps, political campaign ephemera and flags, realized more than $800,000.

The highest selling lot in the auction was a pair of important photograph sketchbooks of the Civil War. Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War by Philp & Solomons, 1865-1866, sold for $144,000.

Exceptional documents and archives were also offered. An important Revolutionary War naval document detailing the Official Record of the Court Martial of Captain Whipple, signed by John Paul Jones and other Naval and Marine Corps officers realized $51,600. A J.E.B. Stuart ALS sold for $14,400, a Thomas Stonewall Jackson endorsement on Kenton Harper ALS realized $15,990, and an archive of Colonel Orland Smith, including war diaries, sword and escutcheon brought $18,000.

Fine books and manuscripts were also met with favor from bidders. An edition of Zebulon Pike’s “Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi,” dated to 1805-1807, realized $9,600, and a book detailing Mathematical Collections and Translations by Thomas Salusbury sold for $20,400.

Photography also displayed a strong performance in the auction. A scarce Whole Plate Ambrotype of Captain John Wilson of the 8th Kentucky Infantry sold for $9,000, a quarter plate daguerreotype of California pioneer Nathaniel Miller realized $15,600 and an Annie Oakley cabinet card hammered down at $4,800.

Upcoming sales at Cowan’s Auctions Inc. include the Cleveland Winter Auction: Fine and Decorative Art on Feb. 7 and a Decorative Art auction on Feb. 21. For more information, visit or call 513-871-1670.

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