News | June 30, 2021

Archive of 200+ Revolutionary War Letters Led Cowan’s Historical Ephemera Sale

Courtesy of Cowan's

An archive of letters related to Danvers, Massachusetts, physician and statesman Dr. Samuel Holten, comprising more than 200 letters spanning 1741-1815. Price realized: $46,875

Cincinnati, OH – On June 25, Cowan’s, a Hindman company, American Historical Ephemera and Photography auction realized more than $705,000 and saw active and competitive bidding throughout. The sale presented an outstanding selection of 18th to early 20th century material and reflected important historical periods including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Indian Wars, World Wars I and II, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The Civil War Collection of Dennis C. Schurr and the Richard B. Cohen Civil War Collection, which included the third installment of Brown Water Navy photographs and a carefully curated selection of autographs and manuscripts from Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Gideon Welles, D.G. Farragut, David Dixon Porter, U.S. Grant, and W.T. Sherman saw fantastic results. Offerings from the Eugene R. Groves Collection of 19th Century Photography also saw outstanding engagement.

The standout lot of the sale was an archive of more than 200 letters related to Danvers, Massachusetts physician and statesman Dr. Samuel Holten, who was an officer during the Revolutionary War and a delegate to the Continental Congress (lot 10), which realized over four times its presale estimate, ultimately selling for $46,875. Philip Henry Sheridan's personal headquarters flag (lot 226), used when he led the 2nd Michigan Cavalry during the spring and summer of 1862, climbed past its presale estimate of $20,000-$30,000 to ultimately realize $40,625. A half plate daguerreotype of firefighter Walter Van Erven Dorens sold for more than double its presale estimate (lot 245), realizing $31,250.

An exceptional collection of 27 stereoviews from John Carbutt's series, "Excursion to the 100th Meridian," from October 1866 (lot 376) realized $17,500 against an estimate of $10,000-15,000. Ferdinand V. Hayden’s Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery (lot 386) soared past its presale estimate of $1,500-2,500 to sell for $16,640.

Other sale highlights included a previously unknown quarter plate daguerreotype of Zachary Taylor (lot 241), which sold for $16,250, more than double its presale estimate. A presidential "Standard" flag identified to Theodore Roosevelt’s administration (lot 308), from Navy Yard, New York also saw excellent bidding activity and ultimately realized $15,000, five times its presale estimate. The navy flag features an appliqued federal eagle with embroidered detailing holding an olive branch and 13 arrows in its talons and is superimposed by a federal shield. A Union Forever! Lockwood Legion! poster also exceeded its estimate, selling for $12,500 against an estimate of $4,000-6,000.

Bidding for the June 25 auction was available via absentee bid, by phone, or live online on Cowan’s website. Hindman continues to welcome consignments for upcoming American History auctions including a November American Historical and Photography auction.