The Daguerreian Society

The 2009 Daguerreian Society Benefit Auction is now closed. Thanks to all who participated!

Consigners: Use The Daguerreian Society to sell your antique photographs, either at the annual live auction to an audience of dedicated and knowledgeable collectors (for 15% commission), or item by item on our weekly eBay auction (30% commission) which is also watched closely by others in our trade.

Lot 1: An Exotic Woman
We have received our first generous donation!

A quarter plate daguerreotype of exotic looking woman, with dangling earrings and fingerless gloves (mitts), reading an open book. Note the implement in her hand. This donation is from Helder Costa. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $60.

Lot 2: Elderly Woman by Williamson and Other Portraits
This lot, out of Philadelphia, consists of 5 daguerreotypes and 1 ambrotype in a thermoplastic Union case. This lot will also be revitalized by new glass. (All are daguerreotypes unless indicated otherwise.) 1) Sixth plate of a bonnetted elderly lady. Stamped in brass mat "C. H. WILLIAMSON, BROOKLYN, NY". 2) Sixth plate woman with red bow looking left. 3) Sixth plate of handsome man. 4)) Sixth plate of slender young woman with bow. 5) Sixth plate ambrotype of a baby in a crisp very good floral motif Union case. 6) 1/9 plate of a bow tied boy with finger pointed. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $160.

Lot 3: Red Cases
A pair of quarter plate daguerreotypes in red cases. One with an oversized mat. These red cases are highly unusual and are of different sizes. They were probably from portrait miniatures and were adapted to daguerreotypes at the time. The smaller case features a girl. The second daguerreotype features the same girl with her little sister. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $550.

Lot 4: Sisters
A charming half plate daguerreotype of sisters, one with a gold cross, the other with a red coral necklace. Both lean on the same table. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $300

Lot 5: The Bates and Isabel Lowry Collection of Photographic Books
Over 250 Books, Many Desirable and Out-of-Print With their personal notations and references. The entire collection will be sold as one lot!!!

Bates Lowry was an art historian who was founding director of the National Building Museum in Washington and served as director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Over the years, Dr. Lowry held teaching positions at the University of Chicago, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, Pomona College, Brown University, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Delaware.His publications include The Visual Experience, Renaissance Architecture, and Building a National Image: Architectural Drawings for the American Democracy.

Isabel Barrett Lowry was an independent researcher and photographer, and the executive director of The Dunlap Society, an organization devoted to the education and appreciation of American art.

The Lowrys had an extensive collection of native and folk art objects, along with early photographs, including many daguerreotypes. Together, they produced a number of publications, including The Silver Canvas: Daguerreotype Masterpieces from the J. Paul Getty Museum. With a wide range of interests and research subjects, the Lowrys were working on a book on hand-colored photography at the time of their deaths.

This bio is understated, to say the least. This is a significant collection and a great addition to any library.

A catalogue of the collection is available in PDF form for download here or by email from Greg French at We ask that members help out by forwarding the PDF file to any booksellers who may be interested.

This collection of books will not be on display in Philadelphia. It is temporarily housed in Boston, Massachusetts. It weighs 434 pounds. Shipping will be paid by the winning bidder. We will use UPS and the approximate cost to ship will be $500 in the United States and $1700 internationally. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $2700.

Lot 6: A Daguerreian Cane
Yes, a walking cane that conceals 3 daguerreotypes:

1. A Man and a Boy Wearing a Blue Bowtie

2. A Woman with Gold Earrings and a Boy (looks like the first boy's sibling)

3. A Girl Wearing a Red Coral Necklace Holding a White Fluffy Dog

The cane measures just shy of 32 inches. It is handsome, and so are the images. This is a rare and exclusive chance to buy a scarce daguerreian artifact. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $4000.

Lot 7: Philadelphia Family Group Features Half-plate by Jeremiah Gurney
This lot straight out of a Philadelphia family consists of 7 daguerreotypes and 1 ambrotype. Changing the glass will do wonders for this lot. (All are daguerreotypes unless indicated otherwise). 1) A beautifully composed couple stamped "J. GURNEY 349 BROADWAY". Subjects are "Evan Morris 1819-1892" and "Mary Gantley Cutter Morris 1832-1913". 2) A quarter plate of a woman looking right with tinted bow. Stamped "J GURNEY..." Subject is Mary Gantley Cutter Morris. 3) 1840s quarter plate of Smith Cutter 1807-1896. 4) Sixth plate man with cane. Subject is William Morris, 1773-1862 from Wales to New Jersey. 5) Young woman Martha Nelson 1833-1888 born in Ireland. 5) Sixth plate ambrotype Mrs. Smith Cutter. 6-8) Ninth plates of Smith Cutter Sr. (2) and possibly Smith Cutter Jr. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $650.

Lot 8: Meade Whole Plate Daguerreotype
A whole plate daguerreotype by the Meade brothers of a tinted aristocrat. Delicate tinting, wonderful tonality, strong pose. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $1500.

Lot 9: A Philadelphia Quaker
A sixth plate daguerreotype of a Quaker woman in appropriate attire. The daguerreotype is housed in a leather case with eagle motif on the velvet, beneath which is marked "Evans, Phila.". This donation is from Jeff Green. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $350.

Lot 10: A Woman and her Dog
A sixth plate daguerreotype, very sharp, of a woman and her dog. Her dog cooperated by staying relatively still and giving us lots of personality as well. The woman wears a red bow and a gold brooch. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $425.

Lot 11: Houses of American Life
Lot of 5 large format photographs (4 are framed) and a collection of smaller photographs featuring American homes. These were the basis of Bates & Isabel Lowry's next project titled American Life. Sadly, they never finished this project, but it is here for your bidding. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $525.

Lot 12: 1840s Half Plate Daguerreotype of Couple by Plumbe
Half plate daguerreotype in full leather case of attractive seated couple with light tinting on faces and woman's dress. Brass mat stamped 'PLUMBE'. Original seals present on mat and plate. Paper lining of case behind image reads: 'Manufactured at the Plumbe National Daguerreian Depot. New-York'. Variant of Lot 13. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $550.

Lot 13: 1840s Half Plate Daguerreotype of Same Couple by Plumbe
Half plate daguerreotype in full leather case of same attractive couple from Lot 12. Brass mat stamped 'PLUMBE'. Paper seals remain on edge of plate. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $475.

Lot 14: Daguerreotypes in Lovely Presentation Boxes
The consignor of this lot went to the Daguerreian Society Symposium in Columbus, Ohio in 1992 hosted by Ohio State. From the curator there, he learned their technique for making presentation boxes. Hence, these daguerreotypes are each in their own cardboard presentation photo box. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $450.

Lot 15: Hawes-Stokes Collection Catalogue
Very rare catalogue, one of only 500 printed, The Hawes-Stokes Collection of American Daguerreotypes by Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes by I. N. Phelps Stokes for the landmark exhibition of Southworth and Hawes daguerreotypes and other early photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in commemoration of the centenary of photography in 1939. The exhibition showed "in its entirety the collection of Southworth and Hawes daguerreotypes given to the Museum by Issac Newton Phelps Stokes, Dr. Edward Southworth Hawes, Miss Alice Mary Hawes, and Miss Marion Augusta Hawes." In excellent condition, it has 48 pages including 24 illustrations of early images, including many by S & H. Research indicates only 49 originals exist in US institutional libraries, plus two in Canada and one in UK. A truly rare item for the advanced Southworth & Hawes collection. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $225.

Lot 17: Handsome Bearded Man with Gold Ring and White Hat
Sixth plate gold toned daguerreotype of man sitting with one arm over back of chair. He wears a straw hat and gold ring. Housed in mother of pearl inlay full case. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $500.

Lot 18: Daguerreotype by W. M. Shew of Woman with Lap Organ
Sixth plate daguerreotype, in full leather case, of woman with lap organ. Paper liner label in case behind image reads: 'W.M. Shew. Miniature Case Maker And Dealer in Daguerreotype Materials. 123 Washington Street Boston'. Written in pencil on case liner behind image: 'Harriet Post'. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $275.

Lot 20: 22 French Glass Stereoviews of a Wedding Featuring Notable Parisians
At bottom of each: 'VAILLANT Tozy from 28 Rue de Surene'. Also includes stereoviews in very good condition. NO RESERVE. SOLD for $175.

Lot 21: A Carpenter
A sixth-plate daguerreotype of a carpenter with tinted sleeves, holding a block plane across his lap. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $900.

Lot 24: Camaraderie
A sixth-plate ambrotype of a fine example of two great-looking men dressed for the night out. Great camaraderie. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $600.

Lot 25: Child with Violin
A sixth-plate daguerreotype of a child with tinted blue dress holding a violin across his or her lap. One hand is moving while the other is perfectly still. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $600.

Lot 26: Tintype of Civil War Officer
A sixth-plate cased tintpye of a Civil War officer wearing gloves and holding a sword across his lap. It is housed in a crossed cannon thermal plastic union daguerreotype case. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $200.

Lot 27: Suspenders and Pipe
A sixth-plate daguerreotype of a bearded man wearing a homespun hat and suspenders, smoking a pipe. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $1900.

Lot 28: Mexican-American War Soldier
A sixth-plate daguerreotype of a Mexican-American War soldier holding a baton and with very bright gold gilded buttons. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $400.

Lot 29: Girl with a Doll
A sixth-plate daguerreotype of a girl in bloomers holding a very large doll. Excellent contrast. She has a hand muff on the table. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $575.

Lot 30: Child in Uniform with his Dog
An adorable sixth-plate ambrotype of a dog lying on a child's lap. The child is wearing a military-style uniform. The image is housed in a thermal plastic union case. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $400.

Lot 31: Man Playing a Burgandy Violin
A fantastic sixth-plate daguerreotype of a man playing a burgandy violin. He gazes right at the camera. RESERVE AUCTION. SOLD for $625.

Lot 32: Fairmount Waterworks, Philadelpha, on Veterans Day 2009 by Mike Robinson
A half-plate daguerreotype of National Historic Landmark Fairmount Waterworks taken on Veterans Day 2009 in Philadelphia. Presented in a Langenheim-inspired passe-partout mat. Mike's work has been housed in major institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The George Eastman House, The Nelson Atkins Museum, The Carnegie Mellon, the National Archives -- and if you are the winning bidder, your collection as well! NO RESERVE. SOLD for $1100.

Lots 16, 19, 22 and 23 did not meet their reserve prices and therefore did not sell.

CONSIGNMENT cut-off is Friday, November 13, 2009 6 PM. No exceptions! We suggest, however, that you get your consignments in earlier so we can catalogue them and post them on the website.


ABSENTEE BIDS are encouraged. All bids will be confidential. All bids will be competitively bid with total discretion, in increments against other real bids. We run these auctions with the utmost integrity. Absentee bidders are always pleased to win items at a fraction of their maximum bids, and last year was no exception. Please call Greg French at 617-522-3610 (home) or email Greg at in order to leave a bid.

FOR THOSE WHO LEAVE BIDS, at your request we will try to call you when the auction is in progress so that you can raise your bid in case your maximum left bid is exceeded. We cannot guarantee these calls, however, and a strong left bid is the safest method for executing your bid.

CONDITION REPORTS, FOR ABSENTEE BIDDERS ONLY, AVAILABLE ON REQUEST. Contact Greg French at or 617-522-3610 for condition reports.

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