Cowans News

Gardner's Sketch Book Fetches $144,000 in November American History Auction

 CINCINNATI, OH – November 24, 2014— Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. American History: Live Salesroom Auction on November 21, 2014 was a success, with sales totaling over $800,000. The 302-lot auction was held in Cowan’s salesroom, in Cincinnati, OH, and featured scarce daguerreotypes, photographs of the American West, 19th century photography, manuscripts, books, maps, political campaign ephemera and flags. 

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

"Although small in size, Cowan's November 21 American History Auction commanded a tremendous amount of interest and enthusiastic bidding” notes Katie Horstman, Director, American History Department,  “We are delighted with the strong prices that were achieved and couldn't be happier to end our 2014 auction year on a high note!"

 Exceptional documents and archives were also offered in the auction. 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 highlighted in the November 21 sale. 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 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 a Fine Annie Oakley Cabinet Card hammered down at $4,800.

Additional notable lots in Cowan’s November 21 American History Auction included an Exceptionally Rare Confederate Cipher Disc, which brought $18,000, a Colonel Orland Smith Archive sold for $18,000 and a Rare William Henry Harrison Campaign Band Box realized $5,700.

For more information about the auction or to view the catalogue, please visit or call Katie Horstman at 513.871.1670 ext. 246.

About Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

As one of the nation’s leading auction houses with sales approaching $20 million, Cowan’s

has been helping individuals and institutions build important collections for more than a

decade. To learn more about Cowan’s, visit


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