Why Cowan's

A Premier Art Auction House Selling Fine Art, Decorative Art, American Indian Art, Antique Firearms, and Historical Americana

Cincinnati-based antiques auction house Cowan’s Auctions, led by PBS’s Antiques Roadshow appraiser and History Detective Wes Cowan, routinely establishes record prices for rare objects in each of its antiques auctions and art auctions. Featured works include American and European paintings and sculpture, American historic collectibles and political memorabilia, early photography, American Indian art, western art, early militaria and military collectibles, and American antique furniture.

Cowan’s Auctions has a reputation of attracting the nation’s top fine art and antique collectors and dealers, who come to us for our expertise, integrity, and passion for the artifacts we sell. Held at our Cincinnati auction salesroom, our auctions feature both live and online bidding, and typically attract over 1000 bidders from all over the world. Trust in our integrity and reputation by both buyers and sellers have helped annual sales for Cowan’s Auctions approach $20 million.

In addition to expert auction estimates, Cowan’s offers professional trust valuation appraisals, insurance appraisals, charitable donation appraisals, and assistance with estate planning and settlement.

Cowan’s Fine Art, Folk Art, and Decorative Art Auctions:

Cowan’s holds three major Fine and Decorative Art auctions a year, which feature American folk art, 19th-century art, portraits, and antique furniture, as well as two auctions of American & European Paintings and Works on Paper including lithographs, etchings, fine art drawings, and watercolors.  Cowan’s paintings, folk art, antique furniture, and ceramics specialists boast decades of experience in the antiques and auction industry and are regarded for their knowledge and scholarship.

Cowan’s American Indian & Western Art Auctions:

A leader in the field of American Indian art auctions, Cowan’s American Indian Art department holds two significant auctions of Native American artifacts and western art a year.  Each auction features American Indian art from Arctic, Northwest Coast, California, Southwest, Plains, Eastern Woodlands, and Southeast tribes.  Navajo rugs, Pueblo pottery, totem poles, Sioux beaded hide moccasins, Native American photography, and works depicting the American West by Henry Farny, Edward Curtis, and Charles Russell attract aggressive bidding by collectors of American Indian and Western Art.

Cowan’s Historic Firearms and Early Militaria Auctions:

Representing over 40 years of expertise in antique firearms, Cowan’s historic firearms specialists offer rare and important firearms for sale in each of their semi-annual auctions.  Winchester firearms, Henry rifles, military collectibles, and Colt firearms regularly attract aggressive bidding. Relics sold at auction from American wars, such as the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812,  the American Civil War, World War I and World War II bring to Cowan’s historic firearms and militaria collectors from all over the world.

Cowan’s Historic Americana Auctions:

The world’s leader in the sale of American historic collectibles and political memorabilia, Cowan’s Historic Americana auctions feature rare daguerreotypes and other early photographs, manuscripts and archives from important figures in American history such as Abraham Lincoln, historic memorabilia from the American Civil War, rare flags, and photographs of the American West.  Led by Wes Cowan, the Historic Americana department provides scholarship and research, and subsequently auction records, unmatched by any other auction house selling historic memorabilia.

About Wes Cowan

Wes Cowan is founder and owner of Cowan's Auctions, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. An internationally recognized expert in Historic Americana, Wes stars in the PBS television series History Detectives and is a featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. He writes an antiques column for the Cincinnati Enquirer and is a frequently requested speaker at antiques events around the country. Wes is licensed as an auctioneer in Ohio and holds a BA and MA in anthropology from the University of Kentucky, and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Wes grew up in a household filled with Victorian antiques, nurtured by a mother who liked all things "old." Torn between the antiques business and American archaeology, Wes first chose a course that set him on an academic road.

After receiving his doctorate degree, Wes taught at the Anthropology Department of Ohio State University. In 1984 he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to assume the post of Curator of Archaeology at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. He has published widely in the fields of American archaeology and paleoethnobotany, and is coeditor of The Origins of Agriculture in International Perspective and Societies in Eclipse: Eastern North America at the Dawn of European Colonization.

In 1995, Wes left academia and the museum world to return to his childhood love - antiques. Since then, Cowan's Auctions has grown from a one-man shop to a nationally recognized business generating $20 million in annual sales.

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